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MSHA investigates fatal accidents and publishes reports for the purpose of obtaining and utilizing information about the causes of accidents in our Nation's mines. The objective of an accident investigation is to determine the root cause(s) of the mine accident and to utilize and share this information with the mining community and others for the purpose of preventing similar occurrences. MSHA's accident investigations include determinations of whether violations of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act) or implementing regulations contributed to the accident.

MSHA is providing a link to judicial opinions associated with some of the fatal accident investigation reports. Sometimes, violations cited as contributing to the accident are legally challenged, and decisions concerning these violations are issued by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission and the Federal Courts of Appeal. To the extent that the findings in those decisions may be different than the findings in MSHA's report of investigation, the reader should understand that Commission judges, the Commission, and the courts make decisions about the cases before them based on their independent evaluation of the evidence presented to them in litigation.

Fatalities #20 - #32 - September 23, 2001
Fatal Alert Bulletin Ignition/Explosion - Underground - Alabama
Jim Walter Resources, Inc. - #5 Mine
Fatal Investigation Report

Judicial Opinions:
  • Docket Number SE 2003-160 (November 1, 2005)
  • Docket Number SE 2003-160 (August 30, 2006)
  • Docket Number SE 2003-160 (December 19, 2006)
  • Docket Number SE 2007-109 (June 14, 2012)

  • Fatality #1 - #12 - January 2, 2006
    Fatal Alert Bulletin Ignition/Explosion of Gas/Dust - Underground - WV
    Anker West Virginia Mining Company Inc - Sago Mine
    Fatal Investigation Report

    Judicial Opinion:
  • Docket Numbers WEVA 2006-853, WEVA 2006-854 and WEVA 2007-666 (June 10, 2009)