Department of Labor
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Roof Fall Accident
3 Miners - Near Miss
A serious roof fall accident recently occurred at
one of the District 8 area mines. The continuous mining machine
was positioned on the right side of the MMU's Number 3 Entry,
finishing or cleaning up the cut and loading into a waiting
ramcar. The cut being mined was approximately 32 feet deep.
Without warning, the fall originated in the unsupported area of
the cut, pulling about six rows of fully grouted, four foot roof
bolts. The roof fall covered portions of the continuous miner and
the ram car. The two mining machine operators were uninjured by
the fall. Both were positioned on the right side of the machine
in an offset that had previously been driven off sights. The
ramcar operator, located in the deck of the machine was also
uninjured. The fall had slickensided surfaces and a rider seam of
coal, about three to six inches thick, was also visible in the
fall cavity. These conditions most likely contributed to the
fall. The foreman and two continuous miner operators indicated
that the roof sounded “drummy” when tested at the
last row of installed roof bolts.
- Know your immediate roof conditions.
- Frequent and thorough roof / rib examinations should always
- All miners should be constantly aware of changing roof
conditions and inform others of any changes.
- When conditions warrant, more frequent test holes should be
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This information was provided by concerned
miners in an effort to eliminate accidents. Accident or "close
call" information within District 8 may be shared by contacting
the MSHA office at (812) 882-7617.