DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION REPORT
(SURFACE COAL MINE)
FATAL MACHINERY ACCIDENT
West Volunteer Mine (ID No. 44-04251)
Andalex Resources, Inc.
Madisonville, Hopkins County, Kentucky
January 23, 1996
Allen L. Head
Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector (Electrical)
Originating Office - Mine Safety and Health Administration
100 YMCA Drive, Madisonville, Kentucky
Rexford Music, District Manager
The Andalex Resources, Inc., Cimarron Division, West Volunteer mine is located 1.2 miles southwest of Madisonville, in Hopkins County, Kentucky. Andalex Resources, Inc., assumed operation of this mine on January 1, 1986.
The facility operates six to seven days per week, working three shifts per day in two active pits. A large dragline is used in each of the two pits to mine 6000 tons of raw coal daily from the Kentucky No. 9, 11, 12, 13, and 14 coal seams. These seams average 55 to 78 inches in height. After the overburden is removed, the coal is loaded onto haulage trucks by track mounted hydraulic excavators.
The coal is then transported to the Cimarron Preparation Plant located at the East Volunteer Mine. The mine employs 80 full-time coal miners.
The principal officers of Andalex Resources, Inc., are as follows:
Howard Ratti..............................Vice President of Eastern Operations
Don Ashby.................................Division Mine Manager
Tony Kinsolving..........................Superintendent West Volunteer
David Staser...............................Maintenance Foreman
Ray Cartwright............................Safety Director
The last regular (AAA) safety and health inspection at the West Volunteer mine began March 31, 1995, and was completed September 26, 1995. A regular safety and health inspection was ongoing at the time of the accident.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ACCIDENT
At 6:30 a.m. on January 23, 1996, Chester P. Haynie Jr., victim, reported for work under the supervision of David Staser, maintenance foreman. Staser told Haynie that the barge float used to support the diesel-powered water pump had rusted and needed repair. Staser told welders Haynie, Chad Staser (son of Supervisor David Staser), and Randy Mothersbaugh to place the float inside the bucket house which provided shelter from adverse weather conditions. Foreman Staser then assumed duties at other mine locations as the repair process began.
The float to be repaired was 12 feet 4 inches wide, 20 feet 7 inches long, 4 feet 4 inches high, and constructed of 1/4 inch thick steel. The float was mounted on steel skids and the interior was divided into nine compartments. The top of the float consisted of two pieces of 1/4 inch thick steel decking approximately 6 feet wide and 20 feet long.
After the float was placed inside the bucket house, the three miners decided that the repair work would begin by removing the top of the structure so that the water leaks could be repaired from inside. Using oxygen and acetylene torches, the welders cut the top perimeter weld, leaving only the middle weld seam which had been formed when the two sections of decking were originally installed. Haynie and Chad Staser then attached a metal clevis to the left side decking, which they tightened by using a 10 inch long adjustable wrench. The clevis was then attached to the boom pole of a modified Hough 400B front-end loader with a 3/8 inch chain.
The decking was raised approximately 4 feet above the frame structure using the front-end loader. This was done so that the workmen could ensure the flame from the torch fully penetrated the decking. Once the cut along the middle seam had been completed, the front-end loader was used to pull the left side of the decking from the float. Mothersbaugh attached the clevis to the right side sheet of the steel decking, and again it was tightened with the 10-inch adjustable wrench.
Because of limited work space, there was room for only one person to cut the weld seam along the right side decking. Mothersbaugh climbed on top of the float and assumed these duties. Staser operated the front-end loader. Haynie was observing from the back of the float. The torch Mothersbaugh was using was not cutting efficiently so he asked Haynie to hand him another one. Haynie then walked to the right side of the float. Mothersbaugh continued cutting along the middle weld.
After approximately 13 feet of the middle weld seam had been cut the decking suddenly slipped from the clevis, trapping Haynie between the decking and the vertical wall of the float structure. Staser and Mothersbaugh immediately ran to the victim and raised the decking, which freed Haynie and allowed him to fall to the ground. Mothersbaugh and Staser promptly notified Foreman Staser of the accident. Foreman Staser notified the East Volunteer shop by mobile phone. The Medical Center Ambulance Service and John Walters, Hopkins County Corner, was notified of the accident. In the meantime, Mothersbaugh and Chad Staser applied first aid treatment to Haynie. Walters and the ambulance arrived at the accident scene at approximately 1:40 p.m. Sammy Sookie, ambulance attendant, checked Haynie's pulse upon arrival. Walters pronounced Haynie dead at 1:40 p.m.
PHYSICAL FACTORS INVOLVED IN THE ACCIDENT
- The work began with the removal of one sheet steel piece
that formed the deck of the float.
- Each piece of the sheet steel decking was 6 feet long, 20
feet wide, and weighed about 794 pounds.
- During the work, a sheet metal clevis attached to a chain
which was attached to the boom of a front end loader, was used to
alternately raise the two pieces of steel decking.
- The subject clevis is a device normally used to move and
drag sheet steel about, and is attached to a piece of sheet steel by
tightening the bolt portion against the sheet steel. The clevis was
not of a design that provides a positive means for raising materials.
- While the right side section of decking was being cut free,
Haynie apparently was trying to observe Mothersbaugh cutting on the
- Examination of the right side decking revealed a scrape mark which was made when the clevis pulled off of the sheet steel.
The accident sequence began when the sheet metal clevis was attached to the decking material. The accident potential was increased when the decking was not securely blocked in position. The accident occurred when the steel decking fell on the victim.
- 103(k) Order No. 4066731 was issued to Andalex Resources
Inc., Cimarron Division to assure the safety of all persons at the
- 104(a) Citation No. 4066732 was issued for the sheet steel decking not being securely blocked in position.
Allen L. Head
CMS&H Inspector (Electrical)
Related Fatal Alert Bulletin: