DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION REPORT
SURFACE COAL MINE
FATAL POWERED HAULAGE ACCIDENT
No. 1 Surface (ID No. 15-10180)
Kem Coal, Inc.
Engle, Perry County, Kentucky
April 12, 1995
Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Archie T. Sammons
Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Originating Office -- Mine Safety and Health Administration
HC 66, Box 1762, Barbourville, Kentucky 40906
Joseph W. Pavlovich, District Manager
At approximately 3:55 a.m., on Wednesday, April 12, 1995, a fatal powered haulage accident occurred at the #8 Pit "Shovel" Parking Area of the No. 1 Surface Mine of Kem Coal, Inc.
Bruce Turner, bulldozer operator, suffered fatal crushing injuries as a result of being run over by heavy equipment entering the area.
The accident occurred as a result of the failure to provide sufficient illumination in the #8 Pit "Shovel" Parking Area.
GENERAL INFORMATION AND BACKGROUND
Kem Coal, Inc., No. 1 Surface Mine, is located at Engle, Perry County, Kentucky. Kem Coal, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transco Energy Company of Houston, Texas. The corporate officers are; Talmadge M. Mosley, President; Haven King, Vice President; Keith Dyke, Vice President; and John P. Desbarres, also President of Transco Energy Company.
The No. 1 Surface mine began operation in December of 1980 and presently operates two production shifts per day. The normal production shift is 10 hours in length, four days per week. Total employment is seventy-six (76) miners working in surface pits and areas. The active pits are mined utilizing bulldozers, front-end loaders, haul-back trucks, highwall drills and one P&H 2800 stripping shovel. The mine produces an average of 4,000 tons of clean coal per day. Coal is transported from the production pits to a preparation plant via contract coal haulage trucks.
The last Mine Safety and Health Administration regular safety and health inspection (AAA) was completed on March 27, 1995.
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT
The mine's Pad Branch Section night shift production crew reported for work Tuesday, April 11, 1995. Before the 5:30 p.m. shift began, Jimmy Dale Smith, section foreman, assigned duties and work locations to the 14 miner crew. Work continued without incident in the No. 8 pit area of the Pad Branch Section until approximately 3:50 a.m. when Bruce Turner, bulldozer operator and victim, returned to the mine's equipment parking area to end the shift.
Turner parked his bulldozer near the entrance to the parking area and dismounted to the ground. Timothy Cornett, operator of a Caterpillar 966 C front-end loader equipped with a scraper for grading the road, was also present in the parking area at this time. Other crew members also began to arrive at the parking area. In interviews, the workers stated they saw Turner standing at or near the bulldozer he had been operating. The drivers of the third and fourth trucks stated they saw no one as they proceeded into the parking area following the first and second trucks. The fifth piece of heavy equipment to enter the parking area was a Caterpillar 988 B front-end loader being operated by McKinley Bush.
Bush stated that upon his arrival at the entrance to the parking area, he observed Turner lying in the roadway and had utilized his citizen's band radio to contact his co-workers and advise them of a possible hazard. Photographs taken by the Kentucky State Police revealed that, scattered around the body, were the victim's personal effects which included: two thermos bottles, a jacket, and a radio. Bush immediately contacted Smith and informed him that Turner was lying on the ground in the parking area. Smith called company security personnel and requested an ambulance and a paramedic.
Smith then contacted Haven King, Vice President, and informed him that a man had been found lying on the ground in the parking area but stated he did not know exactly what had happened to him. King stated he received the call from Smith at approximately 4:05 a.m.
Shortly after 4:05 a.m., King called Patrick Graham, Vice President of Safety and Health, and relayed to him the same information that he had received. Graham informed King he would contact the State and Federal agencies. Graham stated he telephoned Frank Mayhew, Federal Coal Mine Inspector, and subsequently, telephoned James Fields, Supervisory Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector.
Inspector Mayhew told MSHA Investigators that he was contacted by Graham at approximately 4:40 a.m. Mayhew further stated that Graham had suggested death by "natural causes" in the telephone conversation. Supervisor Fields similarly stated that Graham had speculated that the victim had experienced a heart attack, but did not provide much information.
After Turner's body was discovered, all other equipment was routed around the accident scene. When the drivers of the second and third trucks who had entered the parking area parked their trucks, they traveled to the victim's location. On approaching the victim, one of the drivers stated that he thought he saw the victim move. However, the victim was not examined for vital signs or administered first aid by company personnel.
Smith, the foreman, stated the ambulance and Kentucky State Police arrived at the accident scene at approximately 4:20 a.m. Melissa Coghill, paramedic for the Perry County Ambulance Authority, stated that when she arrived at the accident scene, the body was covered with a blanket. Coghill further stated she checked the victim for vital signs and none were found. Coghill then contacted the Perry County Coroner's office. Subsequently, Trooper Joey Stidham of the Kentucky State Police, examined the body and the surrounding area. Trooper Stidham's evaluation of the accident at that time was the victim had been run over by a piece of mobile equipment.
At 4:56 a.m., Jimmy Maggard, Perry County Coroner, and Clayton Brown, Deputy County Coroner, arrived at the mine. Maggard and Brown examined the victim and pronounced him dead. They examined and photographed the immediate area, placed Turner's body in their vehicle and departed at 6:00 a.m. The victim was subse- quently transported to the office of the Medical Examiner in Frankfort, Kentucky, where an autopsy was to be performed.
According to Supervisor Fields at approximately 7:10 a.m., Graham again called and informed him that the Kentucky State Police had sealed off the area and that the victim had apparently been run over.
MSHA's investigation of the accident began on that day with the arrival of MSHA investigators at approximately 7:45 a.m. MSHA's response time was influenced by the earlier reports of death by "natural causes". The investigation was conducted jointly with the Kentucky Department of Mines and Minerals. Heavy rains greatly complicated the investigation, erasing all tire tracks and washing possible physical evidence from the frames of the heavy equipment. The victim's body and all personal effects had been removed. All that remained of the accident scene was evidence of blood and the parked heavy equipment. The scene had been "ribboned-off" by the Kentucky State Police.
PHYSICAL FACTORS INVOLVED
- The following equipment, located in or near the parking
area, was examined for any identifiable evidence which may
be relevant to the accident:
- Caterpillar 776 rock truck, No. 210
- Caterpillar 776 rock truck, No. 541
- Caterpillar 776 rock truck, No. 181
- Caterpillar 776 rock truck, No. 173
- Caterpillar 776 rock truck, No. 209
- Caterpillar 776 rock truck, No. 179
- Caterpillar 776 rock truck, No. 182
- Caterpillar 776 rock truck, No. 172
- Caterpillar 776 rock truck, No. 163
- Caterpillar 776 rock truck, No. 213
- Caterpillar 776 rock truck, No. 210