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District 5 - Coal Mine Safety and Health

A Near Miss

On Friday, July 19, 2002, at approximately 10:00 a.m., a 29 year-old heavy equipment operator with nine (9) years of experience was involved in a potentially life threatening accident. The operator was taking the machine to a surface mine site when the blade impacted a power pole along a haulage road. The power line on the pole was carrying 13,000 volts. The road at the accident site had a 6 percent grade and was 21.5 feet in width. The width of the blade was 22 feet. After the machine hit the power pole, the operator raised the blade keeping the high voltage lines from contacting the cab and the ground. The upper 8 feet of the power pole caught fire and burned for a period of about one hour. A certified electrician disconnected the power to the lines and the heavy equipment operator was able to dismount the machine without any injury.

Front End Loader Involved in Accident Damaged Utility Pole
Simulation Photo
Actual Damaged Utility Pole