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COAL MINE FATALITY - - On Saturday, May 14, 2011, a 37-year old mechanic with 14 years of mining experience and 1½ years of experience as a mechanic, was killed while removing a counter weight fuel tank assembly from a front-end loader. He was positioned beneath the front-end loader when he removed 14 of the 16 mounting bolts that secure the counter weight. When the victim attempted to remove the next to last bolt, the remaining two bolts failed allowing the 11,685 pound counterweight to fall on him. The counter weight had not been blocked to prevent it from falling.

Photo of Accident Scene

Best Practices

  • Install blocking materials before removing mounting bolts from machinery components which can fall during disassembly.
  • Follow known safe maintenance procedures.
  • Follow the equipment manufacturers recommended maintenance procedures when performing repairs to machinery.
  • Train new mechanics in the health and safety aspects and safe work procedures related to their assigned tasks.

  • More Information E-mail Suggestion for Accident Prevention Program Submit your own suggestion for a remedy to prevent this type of accident in the future.
    Please specify if you wish your submission to be anonymous or whether your name may be used. Please include the year of the fatality and the fatality number.

    This is the fifth fatality reported during calendar year 2011 in the coal mining industry. This is the third fatality classified as a Machinery accident in 2011. Thirty-seven coal mine fatalities occurred in 2010 within the same period. Two machinery accidents occurred during the same period in 2010.

    The information provided in this notice is based on preliminary data ONLY and does not represent final determinations regarding the nature of the incident or conclusions regarding the cause of the fatality.

    For more information:
    Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report