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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Monday, August 8, 2011, a 41-year-old longwall mechanic with nine years of mining experience was killed when he was struck in the chest by a piece of metal from the top of a base lift jack mounted on a longwall shield. The jack catastrophically failed resulting in the end cap separating from the cylinder and striking the victim.

Photo of Accident Scene

Best Practices
  • Do not alter hydraulic circuits in a manner that could result in the trapping of pressurized hydraulic fluid.
  • When isolating hydraulic components for repair, ensure that the hydraulic system has a means to bleed the pressure from the components being repaired.
  • Evaluate potential energy sources before working in tight spaces. Click on the following link for more information: MSHA - SLAM Risks the Smart Way - Safety and Health Outreach Program Home Page
  • Ensure re-built components meet original equipment manufacturer (OEM) specifications.
  • Ensure miners are adequately trained in proper maintenance procedures and plan requirements.
  • Examine and periodically inspect all hydraulic components for defects.
  • Ensure the ratings of hydraulic components are compatible with their intended use.

  • 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 twelfth fatality reported during calendar year 2011 in the coal mining industry. This is the fourth fatality classified as a Machinery accident in 2011. Forty-two coal mine fatalities occurred in 2010 within the same period. Three machinery fatalities occurred in 2010 in the same time period.

    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