DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION REPORT
(UNDERGROUND COAL MINE)
FATAL FALL OF ROOF
PARADISE #9 (I.D. No. 15-17741)
KenAmerican Resources, Inc.
Central City, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky
September 28, 1998
Allen L. Head
Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Originating Office - Mine Safety and Health Administration
100 YMCA Drive, Madisonville, Kentucky 42431-9019
Rexford Music, District Manager
Release Date: December 10, 1998
The KenAmerican Resources, Inc. PARADISE #9 mine (ID 15-17741) is located one-quarter mile south of KY Rte. 70 and KY Rte. 181 near Central City, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. Mining began on September 6, 1996 into the Kentucky No. 9 coal seam, which averages 60 inches in height. The mine is accessed through two openings consisting of a split intake and return shaft, and a combination belt and supply slope. The mine liberates approximately 280,000 cubic feet of methane in 24 hours.
The mine provides employment for 138 persons who are not represented by an organized labor union. A room and pillar method of mining is used to extract the coal. Rubber-tired diesel-powered equipment is used to transport personnel and supplies. Coal is hauled from the working face by shuttle cars, dumped onto a belt conveyor, and transported to the surface. Two continuous mining sections produce approximately 4,350 tons of coal daily on two production shifts and one maintenance shift.
The Roof Control Plan (approved March 26, 1996), requires a minimum 36-inch long mechanically anchored tension bolt. The immediate mine roof consists of 1 to 2 feet of black shale. The main roof consists of 2 to 5 feet of gray shale and 10 to 15 feet of sandy shale with an average overburden of 350 feet. Maximum allowable entry and crosscut widths are 20 feet. When mining panel entries, the plan requires one entry of the intake escapeway, belt entry, and one return entry to be timbered with double rows of timbers on 5 foot centers to within 500 feet of the face. When mining main entries, two intakes, two returns, and the belt entry are required to have a double row of timbers on 5 foot centers to within 500 feet of the face. The crosscuts are required to be timbered along the supply road with two rows of timbers on 5 foot centers or truss bolted to within 500 feet face.
The plan permits steel arches to be installed in lieu of roof bolts. The plan requires that prior to the installation of an arch, a company official shall examine the area to be supported and remove loose material from the roof and ribs that pose a hazard to the miners. The installation of arches shall be under the direct supervision of a properly trained company official, unless the workmen are specially trained to perform such work. All persons shall remain under the protection of the arches or supported roof during the installation procedure. Those persons whose job is to hold the arch in position, shall stand under the arch until it is secured.
KenAmerican Resources Inc. is a subsidiary of Mill Creek Mining Company. The principal officials of KenAmerican Resources Inc., PARADISE #9 mine are:
The Training Plan was approved by the Mine Safety and Health Administration on May 3, 1996. A safety and health inspection (AAA) was started July 7, 1998, and was ongoing at the time of the accident.
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT
The following information was obtained through testimony and the investigation of the accident scene:
On Friday September 25, 1998, a roof fall occurred in the No. 3 supply entry of the Main North at crosscut No. 23, approximately 1200 feet inby the mine opening. The fall extended rib to rib for a distance of approximately 60 feet in length and 6 feet in height. Shortly thereafter, the process of cleaning up the fall and rehabilitating the area began. Part of the loose material was removed, the brows were bolted, and arches were transported to the area.
On Sunday September 27, at approximately 11:00 p.m., five miners under the supervision of section foreman Mike Clayton received their assignments and traveled to the fall area to continue installing the arches. Ten arches had been installed prior to the beginning of their shift. Clayton's crew installed four arches and cleaned the remaining 27 feet of fallen material with two scoops, loading from both the inby and the outby sides of the fall. According to Clayton no loose material was observed during his examinations. The investigation revealed that a slate bar for scaling loose material was not available at the accident site.
Ricky B. Taylor Jr. (victim), with four months mining experience, drove Larry Buchman, scoop operator, to the No. 2 unit to obtain a scoop. The scoop Buchman had been operating experienced mechanical problems and had been taken out of service. They arrived back at the arching project at approximately 5:20 a.m..
Clayton made a visual examination of the area and did not observe any loose material. He and Taylor positioned themselves under the last arch that had been installed. They slid a "mud sill" into an area of unsupported roof along the right rib. The mud sill was a 6-inch by 6-inch timber, ten feet in length, and was to be used as a footer for the next metal arch framework. Clayton then proceeded outby when a piece of rock measuring 89 inches in length, 53 inches in width, and 6 to 14 inches in thickness fell from the mine roof. The rock struck the inby edge of the last installed arch, landed on end, then toppled in an outby direction under the arches fatally injuring Taylor. When Clayton heard the rock fall he turned and saw Taylor under the rock. Taylor was face down on the mine floor with a portion of his legs extending out from under the last arch.
Rick Brothers, 3rd shift mine examiner and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), arrived on the accident scene, and assisted Clayton, foreman and Mine Emergency Technician (MET), Gary Lynn, mechanic, Buchman and Roger Tucker, scoop operators, to remove the rock off of Taylor. They raised the rock enough to free Taylor. Steve Ray, 3rd shift belt foreman, notified Matthew Nelson, surface mine guard, of the accident. Nelson then called 911 for assistance. Brothers immediately began CPR on Taylor with the assistance of Clayton and his crew. The victim was placed into the back of a Isuzu diesel pickup truck and taken to the surface where they were met by the Muhlenberg County Ambulance Service. Taylor was transported to the Muhlenberg Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 6:38 a.m. by attending physician Keith L. Willard M.D.
MSHA Inspector Kenneth Large arrived at the mine at approximately 5:45 a.m. and was informed of the accident. He called MSHA Supervisor Darold Gamblin who then notified the District Office. Large issued a 103(k) order a 6:00 a.m. to assure the safety of all persons in the mine.
A joint investigation by the Kentucky Department of Mines and Minerals and MSHA began on September 28, 1998. Following the in-mine investigation of the accident area, interviews were conducted with individuals to obtain additional information regarding the accident. The individuals interviewed were represented by an attorney and by advice of their attorneys declined to answer any questions concerning traveling or working under unsupported roof.
PHYSICAL FACTORS INVOLVED
- On Friday September 5, 1998, a roof fall occurred in the No.
3 supply entry of the Main North at crosscut No. 23,
approximately 200 feet inby the mine opening. The fall
extended rib to rib for a distance of approximately 60 feet
in length and 6 feet in height. Shortly thereafter, the
process of cleaning up the fall and rehabilitating the area
began. Part of the loose material was removed, the brows
were bolted, and arches were transported to the area.
- The steel arches used at this mine were flatplate and rolled
H-beam sections constructed of one half inch thick steel with a
minimum yield strength of 36,000 PSI. The steel arches were
being installed on five foot centers and were manufactured by
Modern Welding of Kentucky located in Madisonville, Kentucky.
- Company policy indicates that any person observed out from
under the protection of the arches or supported roof is subject
to disciplinary action which may include discharge. The miners
interviewed during the investigation declined to answer questions
related to the procedures used to install arches, and questions
related to persons working in areas of unsupported roof.
- The section foreman visually examined the area prior to the
installation of the arches and did not observe any loose
- Taylor had four months total mining experience and was not
experienced in rehabilitation work. This was the first
shift in which Taylor had been involved in the installation
of arches and was performing this work under the supervision of
- Taylor and Clayton positioned themselves under the last arch
that had been installed and slid a "mud sill" into an area
of unsupported roof along the right rib. Clayton was
proceeding outby when a piece of rock measuring 89 inches in
length, 53 inches in width, and 6 to 14 inches in thickness
fell from the mine roof. The rock struck the inby edge of
the last installed arch, landed on end, then toppled in an
outby direction under the arches fatally injuring Taylor.
- A total of fourteen arches had been installed on five foot
centers prior to the accident.
- The roof was not supported or otherwise controlled where
persons work or travel.
- No training violations were discovered during the investigation.
The accident occurred when a loose rock fell in an area of the mine where arches were being installed in lieu of roof bolts. The rock struck the inby edge of the last installed arch, landed on end, then toppled in an outby direction under the arches fatally injuring Taylor. Failure to adequately support or control the loose rock in this area was a contributing factor to the accident.
- 103(k) Order No. 7639196 was issued to insure the safety of
any persons at the mine until an investigation was conducted.
- 104(a) Citation No. 7640048 was issued for a violation of 30 CFR 75.202(a). The roof was not supported or otherwise controlled where persons work or travel.
This report is released to disseminate the facts and
circumstances surrounding the accident. Employees of KenAmerican
Resources, Inc. declined to answer certain questions related to
the procedures used to install arches, and questions related to
persons working in areas of unsupported roof.
Allen L. Head
Ted D. Smith
Richard L. Reynolds
Assistant District Manager
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