Skip to content
PDF Version

MSHA Job Safety Tips
ST Card No. 1

Roof and Rib Safety in Coal Mines


Roof falls are a leading cause of mine fatalities. Most roof and rib accidents have occurred from: To prevent roof/rib accidents, miners should: In 1996 ten miners died in the Nation's coal mines as a result of falls of the mine roof and rib.

A brief summary of some of these fatalities follows:

February 7, 1996 -- A portion of the rock brow and coal rib above a mechanic and loading machine operator fell, fatally injuring the loading machine operator. The accident occurred because the overhanging brow and coal rib were not properly evaluated and taken down or supported.

June 26, 1996 -- A roof fall occurred during the mining of a final pushout on a pillar block resulting in fatal injuries to a continuous miner operator. The accident occurred as a result of premature roof fall caused by a combination of poor roof conditions and extended time to mine the pillar, which sat 7 hours between shifts.

August 15, 1996 -- A general laborer was fatally injured when he traveled inby permanent roof supports to shovel loose coal along the ribs of a crosscut.

September 18, 1996 -- A roof bolter, while assisting a roof bolting machine operator was struck and fatally injured by a roof fall. The accident occurred because the victim was working under unsupported roof.

October 29, 1996 -- A shuttle car operator was tramming a shuttle car to a continuous miner when a rock fell causing fatal injuries to him. The accident occurred because the roof was not adequately supported.


U.S. Department of Labor
Mine Safety and Health Administration