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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Wednesday, July 27, 2011, a 39-year-old miner with 22 years of mining experience was electrocuted while welding to connect two pipes together. He was working in the ceiling of the filter room of a preparation plant. This area, where the welding was being conducted, was wet and the illumination was limited. The victim contacted an energized welding electrode.

Photo of Accident Scene

Best Practices
  • Do not touch an energized electrode with bare skin.
  • Avoid wet working conditions. A person's perspiration can lower the body's resistance to electrical shock. Do not drape electrode wires or leads over your body.
  • Work in a confined space only if it is well ventilated and illuminated.
  • Do not use the plant structure as the work (return) conductor. Connect the work cable (return) as close to the welding area as practical to prevent welding current from traveling unknown paths and causing possible shock, spark, and fire hazards.
  • Insulate yourself from work and ground by using and/or wearing dry insulating mats, covers, clothes, footwear, and gloves. Inspect welding gloves for damage prior to welding and ensure the gloves are dry.
  • Use only well maintained equipment. Frequently inspect welding wires or leads for damaged or exposed conductors. Replace or repair wires or leads immediately if damaged.
  • Use voltage reduction safety devices (if available) for arc welders.
  • For additional information, please see MSHA's Safety Target Packages at 20safety.pdf

    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 eleventh fatality reported during calendar year 2011 in the coal mining industry. This is the first fatality classified as an Electrical accident in 2011. Forty-one coal mine fatalities occurred in 2010 within the same period. No electrical fatalities occurred 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