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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Wednesday April 10, 1996, a longwall crew was in the process of moving the stageloader to a new longwall section. The crew was utilizing two shield units to push the stageloader along the entry by pressurizing the shields against the roof and activating the rams on the shields. A water duke jack was also utilized to keep the stageloader from sliding into the wide-side rib. The duke jack was positioned with the bottom end placed in a notch in the rib and the active end placed against the stageloader. A hydraulic wand was connected to the duke jack and the handle wired open to permit remote pressurization from a valve on the stageloader. The stageloader was moved twice using this arrangement and both times, the duke jack was found extended and laying on the mine floor. After pushing the stageloader a third time, a mechanic went to the duke jack location, presumably to reset the jack. Other members of the crew heard a strange sound, then a moan. The mechanic was found injured, sitting against the rib with the duke jack across his legs. Apparently, the duke jack had sprung free and struck the mechanic. The mechanic died as a result of internal injuries.

This is the 12th coal mine fatality in 1996. As of April 10 last year, there had been 9 fatalities. This death is the fourth classified as MACHINERY in 1996.

Line drawing of the accident scene

For more information:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report [FTL96C12]