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MSHA's Safety Targets Program
Roof Bolter Safety
From January 1984 to April 1994 there were 16 fatal machinery accidents related to roof bolter entanglements/pinchpoints. A Task Force was assembled to determine how these types of fatalities could be eliminated. The Task Force report of findings was mass mailed to the industry in 1994. Since the report was shared with the industry there have been 3 fatalities involving entanglements/pinchpoints on roof bolting machines; an 81% reduction. However, 21 other fatalities have occurred from January 1995 to July 2008 involving individuals classified as roof bolters.

MSHA believes all these types of accidents can be eliminated if operators follow the simple rules outlined in this Roof Bolter Safety Package.

In addition to the 1994 Task Force Report, this package includes information addressing the safety hazards associated with all roof bolter activities. It is being reissued to be shared with all miners working on, or near roof bolters for the following reasons:
  • Many new roof bolter operators have been hired in recent years.
  • Many roof bolter operators were working in other job classifications previously and may not be aware of the contents of the original 1994 report.
  • Periodically, all equipment operators should be re-alerted to the inherent hazards of the machine operation.
This information is being supplied to increase hazard awareness when operating or working around roof bolters. Every roof bolter operator, helper, mechanic and other miners who work around these machines should be given this information. Please read this information, learn about accidents involving roof bolters and about measures you can take to prevent yourself from being involved in a similar accident. The life you save may be your own.

Please share this information with your co-workers and discuss it at safety meetings. If you have questions or need additional copies of this information, please contact Michael Getto by phone
at 304 547 2303 or by email at

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