DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION REPORT
UNDERGROUND COAL MINE
FATAL POWERED-HAULAGE ACCIDENT
Mine No. 1 (ID No. 46-07530)
Sand Branch Mining, Inc.
Hampden, Mingo County, West Virginia
September 28, 1995
Curtiss Vance, Jr.
Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Originating Office - Mine Safety and Health Administration
100 Bluestone Road, Mount Hope, West Virginia 25880
Earnest C. Teaster, Jr., District Manager
On Thursday, September 28, 1995, about 7:15 a.m., a fatal powered-haulage accident occurred at the intersection to the No. 8 crosscut of the No. 4 intake airway.
The day-shift production crew was being transported in a sled- type mantrip that was being pulled by an S&S Model 488 scoop to the No. 1 working section, 003-0 MMU. Morgan Tabor, shuttle-car operator, was lying on four 50-lb. bags of rock dust in the right front corner of the mantrip sled. One bag of rock dust was placed against the end sideboard in an inclined position and was being used by Tabor as a back or head rest.
The accident occurred when the broken right sled runner struck a loose rock in the mine floor causing the sled to lift toward the mine roof when the rock fouled and overturned. Tabor sustained fatal injuries when his head was caught between the mine roof and the sled and/or the bag of rock dust positioned against the end sideboard. The mining height at the accident site was 46 to 50 inches.
The accident and resultant fatality occurred because the curved ends of the sled runners were broken off. The bags of rock dust being transported in the mantrip sled reduced the victim's overhead clearance and contributed to the accident.
The Sand Branch Mining, Inc., Mine No. 1, is located at Hampden, Mingo County, West Virginia. Coal was first extracted from Mine No. 1 in 1995. The mine employs 27 miners on one maintenance and two coal-producing shifts and produces approximately 600 tons of coal daily from one continuous-mining section.
The mine is entered through four surface drift openings into the Hernshaw coalbed, which averages 40 inches in height. The mine is ventilated by a blowing system utilizing a 6-foot fan which produces 90,000 cubic feet of air per minute. The mine does not have a history of methane gas liberation.
Coal is transported by shuttle cars to the section feeder and then transported to the surface by a belt conveyor system. The miners and supplies are transported via rubber-tired, battery- powered equipment.
The last AAA inspection was completed by the Mine Safety and Health Administration on August 25, 1995.
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT
On Thursday, September 28, 1995, members of the day-shift production crew arrived at the mine and prepared for work. The crew consisted of Teddy Morgan, mine foreman/section foreman; Carl L. Hopson, continuous-mining-machine operator; Carl F. Hopson, continuous-mining-machine helper; Donald Smith, scoop operator; Mickey Endicott, beltman; Anthony Lambert and Terrance Salmons, roof-bolting-machine operators; and Morgan Tabor and Clayton Hobbs, shuttle-car operators.
The night-shift maintenance crew had just exited the mine and had left the sled-type mantrip coupled to the S&S Model 488 scoop. Morgan instructed Smith and Endicott to load cinder blocks in the scoop bucket. While Smith and Endicott loaded the cinder blocks, the other crew members began loading into the mantrip. Tabor positioned himself on four bags of rock dust located in the right front corner of the mantrip sled. One bag of rock dust was positioned in an inclined position against the end sideboard which Tabor used as a back or head rest. The other miners were positioned lower inside the sled.
At 7:05 a.m., the mantrip started underground in the No. 4 intake entry. The mantrip had proceeded into the intersection of the No. 8 crosscut when the broken right sled runner struck a loose rock in the mine floor. As the scoop trammed forward, the edge of the rock fouled, causing the sled to lift when the rock overturned. Morgan immediately signaled Smith to stop the mantrip. Tabor's head had been caught between the mine roof and the top of the sled and/or the bag of rock dust that had been positioned against the end sideboard as a back or head rest.
Morgan immediately assessed Tabor's condition and vital signs. Morgan did not detect any vital signs. Morgan instructed the crew members to call for ambulance assistance and instructed Smith to uncouple the scoop from the sled. Smith uncoupled the scoop from the sled, turned the scoop around, and coupled the scoop to the outby end of the sled. Morgan and Carl L. Hopson accompanied Tabor in the sled to the surface. After arriving on the surface, Morgan and Larry Davis, midnight shift foreman, assessed Tabor again but were unable to detect any vital signs.
Stafford Emergency Medical Services arrived at 7:45 a.m. to assist the accident victim. The Mingo County Coroner arrived at 8:30 a.m. and pronounced the victim dead. The Stafford ambulance departed the mine site at 9:10 a.m. with the victim.
INVESTIGATION OF THE ACCIDENT
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) was notified of the accident by Mike Estremera, superintendent, at 7:35 a.m., Thursday, September 28, 1995. Representatives of the Mine Safety and Health Administration and the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training jointly conducted the investigation.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration issued a 103(k) Order to ensure the safety of all persons. Photographs and measurements were taken, and an engineering survey of the accident site was conducted by Guyandotte Consultants, Inc.
The employees present at the accident scene gave initial statements concerning the accident. Persons known to have information surrounding the accident were interviewed on September 29, 1995, in MSHA's Logan field office conference room.
The physical portion of the investigation was completed on September 29, 1995, and the 103(k) Order was terminated.
Records indicated that training had been conducted in accordance with Part 48, 30 CFR. An examination of Mr. Tabor's training records revealed that he had received all requisite training.
Records and the presence of the examiner's date, time, and initials indicated that the required examinations were being conducted at the mine.
- The accident occurred in the No. 4 intake entry about 800
feet inby the drift.
- The mining height (roof to floor) at the accident site was
46 to 50 inches.
- The mine floor along the mantrip haulage roadway had some
irregularities. According to the miners interviewed, the
irregularities were not affecting the control of the
- The broken end of the runner created a plowing effect as the
sled was being pulled. The irregular edge of the runner
fouled against a piece of rock on the mine floor. The rock
was pushed by the runner and overturned. When the rock
overturned, it caused the sled to lift toward the roof.
- The rock measured 48 inches in length, 40 inches in width,
and 3-1/4 to 5 inches in thickness.
- The sled-type mantrip had been constructed at the mine site
about 1 month prior to the accident.
- Two 40-pound rails had been welded on the bottom of the sled
for runners. The ends of the rails had been heated and bent
upward to permit a sliding effect. The four curved ends of
the rails had broken off.
- According to the scoop operator, who normally coupled and
uncoupled the sled, the curved ends of the runners had only
been broken for a short period of time.
- A tongue-type coupling device had been welded to the ends of
- A steel chain, approximately 17 inches in length, was being
used to couple the tongue of the sled to the scoop.
According to the witnesses, the chain permitted the sled to
be pulled smoothly without a jerking motion created when the
tongue was coupled directly to the scoop.
- According to the miners interviewed, the chain provided a
safer means of coupling and uncoupling the mantrip.
Coupling and uncoupling the tongue directly to the scoop
required a person to be between the scoop and the sled as
the scoop was being operated in order to hold the tongue up
or to remove the coupling pin.
- The dimensions of the mantrip sled were 10 feet in length, 7
feet in width, and 12 inches in height inside the mantrip
compartment, and 22 inches in height from the bottom of the
sled. The mantrip was not overcrowded.
- The mantrip was under the direct supervision of the section
- The scoop operator was familiar with haulage safety rules
- The mantrip was being operated at speeds consistent with the
conditions and equipment used. The S&S Model 488 scoop that
was being used to pull the sled was being operated in slow
- The sled-type mantrip was being operated independently of
- The S&S Model 488 scoop being used to pull the mantrip was
equipped with adequate brakes and lights.
- According to all the witnesses interviewed, the foreman had
cautioned them and the victim on several occasions to keep
their heads down and within the confines of the sled while
- The victim was lying on four 50-lb. bags of rock dust. This
caused the victim to be elevated approximately 3 to 9 inches
from the floor of the sled. One bag of rock dust was placed
against the end sideboard and was used by the victim as a
back or head rest.
- Supplies and tools were being transported in the sled-type mantrip with the miners.
The accident and resultant fatality occurred because the operator failed to maintain the mantrip sled in a safe operating condition and allowed the miners to be transported in the mantrip sled with mine supplies.
A 104(a) Citation No. 4624591 was issued, stating in part that the mantrip sled was not maintained in a safe operating condition, a violation of Section 75.1725(a), 30 CFR.
A 314(b) Notice to Provide Safeguard No. 4624592 was issued, stating in part that supplies were being transported in the sled with the miners.
Respectfully submitted by:
Curtiss Vance, Jr.
Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Billy G. Foutch
Assistant District Manager
Earnest C. Teaster, Jr.
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