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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Monday, June 7,1999, at the start of the shift, a longwall shear operator determined that he needed to change bits on the longwall shear. The shear operator requested that power be left to the machine so he could prepare the shearer for changing bits. He selected a location to perform this task and deenergized the machine. While changing bits on the shear, a piece of rock, measured to be approximately 5'x 1.6'x 1.1', fell from between the face and the tip of the shields striking the shearer operator, entrapping his legs. Almost simultaneously, another piece of rock and coal, measured to be 4'x 2' x 1.3', fell from between the face and the tip of the adjacent shield striking the headgate drum and rolling onto the shearer operator's head and neck. This accident resulted in fatal injuries to the shearer operator.

MSHA - Fatalgram Photo
  • Work is only to be performed in areas where roof and face is competent.

  • Workers should not be exposed to hazards where material may fall from adjacent shields into the work area.
  • This is the 14th fatality reported in calendar year 1999 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 1998, there were 12 fatalities. This is the 4th fatality classified as FALL OF ROOF in 1999.

    For more information:
    Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report [FTL99C14]