| MSHA's Accident Prevention Program
Derails at Airlocks
| Accidents and fatalities have occurred in an underground coal mines when track mounted equipment slid into airlock doors. The causes of these accidents are usually a combination of excessive speed, dampness, steep grades, and inoperative or inadequate sanding devices.
On most of these grades, placing a derailing device ahead of the airlock doors could prevent this type of accident. First, the device would force operators of track equipment to slow down or stop to operate the derailing device and, second, it would derail and stop runaway cars or mantrips before they hit the airlocks.
Both slowing down operators and stopping runaways could reduce accidents and injuries, but placing the derailing device ahead of airlock doors would also avoid disrupting the ventilation and productivity of the mine.