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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Monday, October 5, 1998, the operator of a highwall drill, while at the operating controls, was fatally injured when a large piece of rock fell from the highwall onto the cab of his drill. The rock fell 20 feet to a safety bench, split, then fell an additional 55 feet onto the top of the cab. The portion of rock that struck the highwall drill completely destroyed the operator's cab.

  • Highwalls shall be examined and monitored often.

  • The ground control plan at each mine shall be followed.

  • All miners should be trained to recognize hazardous highwall conditions.

  • Drill operators should not drill from positions that hinder their escape from highwall falls or spoil back slides.

  • This is the 23rd fatality reported in calendar year 1998 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 1997, there were 25 fatalities. This is the second fatality classified as Fall of Highwall in 1998.

    For more information:
    Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report [FTL98C23]