DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION REPORT
UNDERGROUND COAL MINE
FATAL MACHINERY ACCIDENT
Buchanan Mine #1 (ID No. 44-04856)
Consolidation Coal Company
Mavisdale, Buchanan County, Virginia
May 29, 1999
Roy D. Davidson, Electrical Engineer
Originating Office - Mine Safety and Health Administration
P.O. Box 560, Wise County Plaza, Norton, Virginia 24273
Ray McKinney, District Manager
RELEASE DATE: April 19, 2000
At 5:15 p.m., on Saturday, May 29, 1999, William Mays, Section Foreman, entered the No. 3 Entry of the 7 Left off 4 North Mains Section. Mays observed that the 48-inch drill steel being used by the roof bolting machine operator had become stuck in the hole. Mays used a 24-inch extension to try and dislodge the drill steel. As Mays was attempting to free the drill steel, he contacted the rotation lever for the machine and his right hand and rubber coated glove wrapped around the extension. Jerry Hinkle, Scoop Operator, cut the glove from Mays' hand and freed him from the drill steel. Mays suffered injuries to his hand and foreman.
Mays remained off work and began physical therapy after his injuries were sufficiently healed. However, due to pain in his right hand, additional surgery was performed on October 29, 1999. On October 31, 1999, Mays, age 54, was found dead in his hospital room.
The accident occurred because the victim inadvertently contacted the rotation lever for the roof bolting machine while his hand was gripping the drill steel extension. The friction between the rubber lined gloves worn by the victim and the rotating steel extension contributed to the accident.
GENERAL INFORMATIONConsolidation Coal Company's Buchanan Mine #1 is located two miles south of Route 460 on State Route 632 at Mavisdale, Buchanan County, Virginia. The mine is opened by eight shafts into the Pocahontas No. 3 Seam which averages 60 to 70 inches locally. The immediate roof consists of approximately 10 inches of sandy shale which is overlain by a main roof of sandstone. Ventilation is provided by five exhausting fans which produce 2,830,000 cubic feet per minute of air. The latest laboratory analysis of return air samples at the fans showed a total methane liberation of 10,034,588 cubic feet per day. The face areas are ventilated using a double split system of ventilation and exhausting line curtains. The latest Training Plan was approved on November 28, 1997.
Employment is provided for 366 persons. A total of 350 underground and 16 surface employees work on three production shifts per day, seven days per week. The mine averages 20,500 tons of raw coal daily from three continuous mining machine sections and one longwall section. Coal is transported from the face by shuttle cars, conveyor belts and then out of the mine by way of hoist powered coal skips. A diesel-powered track haulage system is used to transport both men and material.
The principal management personnel in charge of the mine at the time of the accident were:
President J. B. Harvey
Superintendent J. Michael Onifer
Safety Director Jack Holt
Principal Officer-H/S J. Michael Onifer
Labor Organization N/A
Chairman- H/S Committee N/A
The mine address is P.O. Box 230, Mavisdale, VA 24624. The corporate address is 1800 Washington Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15241.
The last regular Safety and Health inspection at the time of the accident was completed on March 31, 1999.
The latest quarterly national industry frequency rate for underground mines was 8.14. The latest quarterly frequency rate for this mine was 2.29.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ACCIDENTOn Saturday, May 29, 1999, the 7 Left off 4 North Mains Section Crew, under the supervision of William Mays, Section Foreman, entered the mine at approximately 3:30 P.M. The crew arrived on the section at approximately 4:10 P.M. and began normal work activity until the accident occurred at 5:15 P.M.
The section consisted of four entries used to develop longwall panels. A 180-foot barrier block separated the No.1 and No. 2 Entries from the No. 3 and No. 4 Entries. Each side had its own continuous mining machine and roof bolting machine. The left side roof bolting machine was being operated in the No. 2 entry by the regular crew. Ronnie Vanover, Electrician, had finished with his normal duties and decided to help the bolting machine crew by starting the bolting process on the right side. Vanover began operating the right side Fletcher dual head roof bolting machine in the No. 3 entry approximately 141 feet inby survey station 17769. Vanover had installed three, 60-inch resin grouted torque tension roof bolts on the left side of the entry and was attempting to install the first bolt on the right side, the first bolt being the one nearest the right rib. Vanover drilled the hole to the proper depth, using a 42-inch length hex drill steel and a 24-inch length extension. The extension, also called a pusher, was used to connect the machine's drill chuck to the drill steel and provided the extra length needed for the hole. The drill steel became stuck in the hole when Vanover attempted to withdraw it. As Vanover worked to free the drill steel from the hole, the 24-inch extension broke. Mays arrived at the location and attempted to free the steel as Vanover approached the center of the machine to find another extension. In the meantime, Mays found an extension at the front of the machine and tried to dislodge the stuck drill steel. Vanover, who was near the center of the machine and still searching for another extension, heard Mays yell that he had broken his arm. Vanover turned and saw that Mays right hand and glove were wrapped around the 24-inch extension. Mays was wearing rubber coated metacarpal gloves at the time of the accident. Jerry Hinkle, Scoop Operator, had just arrived at the scene to supply the bolting machine with roof bolts. Hinkle cut the glove from Mays hand and freed him from the drill steel. Mays was given first aid while still on the working section. Vanover called Danny Atwell, Shift Supervisor, who was located outby in the track entry on Four North Mains. Atwell instructed Vanover to bring Mays toward the outside until they met. Atwell and Vanover met near the No. 5 belt drive. Vanover then called outside for an ambulance and Atwell transported Mays to the surface. Grundy Ambulance Service was waiting on the surface and transported Mays to Clinch Valley Medical Center in Richlands, Virginia.
Mays was contacted by Don Keen, Safety Inspector for the Virginia Division of Mines Minerals and Energy, on June 1, 2000, while he was still hospitalized in Clinch Valley Medical Center. Mays stated he was trying to free the lodged drill steel by twisting the extension with his right hand. He then inadvertently struck the rotation lever with his left hand. He stated that both bones in his right forearm were broken and the first joint of his right little finger which was partially severed had been reattached.
Mays remained off work and began physical therapy after his injuries were sufficiently healed. However, due to pain in his right hand, additional surgery was performed on October 29, 1999 at the Clinch Valley Medical Center. Mays was scheduled to be released from the hospital on October 31, 1999. However, on the morning of October 31, 1999 Mays was found dead in his hospital room.
INVESTIGATION OF THE ACCIDENTOn May 29, 1999, Glenn Smith, Manager of Safety and Dave Berry, Safety Supervisor for Consolidation Coal Company conducted an investigation of the accident. Don Keen, who was at the mine, accompanied them and conducted his own investigation.
The injuries were not considered life threatening and therefore not immediately reported to MSHA. An MSHA Form 7000-1 was completed on June 2, 1999 and received in the Richlands MSHA Office on June 7, 1999. On June 8, 1999, the accident was investigated by John S. Griffith, the MSHA Coal Mine Inspector assigned to the mine.
On November 3, 1999, Charlie Walls, MSHA Field Office Supervisor, received a call from Glenn Smith that William Mays had died on October 31, 1999 after surgery for a mine injury. Walls received a copy of the Certificate of Death from Fanning Funeral Home in Welch, West Virginia. The certificate was not specific as to the cause of death and indicated that an autopsy would be performed.
On November 30, 1999, Delores Mays, wife of the deceased, was contacted by Walls to obtain a copy of the autopsy. Mrs. Mays indicated she had not at that time received the results. On January 18, 2000, Mrs. Mays received the results of the autopsy and on January 21, 2000, MSHA received a copy.
An investigation at the mine site began at approximately 8:30 A.M. on April 5, 2000. The investigation was conducted jointly by MSHA and the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. At the time of the investigation, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy had not determined if the death would be chargeable. The scene of the accident was visited and interviews conducted with Vanover, Hinkle and Atwell. The roof bolting machine involved in the accident had been taken out of service because of fire damage received several months earlier. However, another roof bolting machine of the same type was examined and a bolting cycle was observed. The rubber glove Mays caught in the drill extension and the drill extension were examined. The field portion of the investigation was concluded on this day.
DISCUSSION1. The mining height at the scene of the accident was 73 inches.
2. The machine involved in the accident was a Fletcher dual head roof bolting machine, Model DDR-15-C-D, Serial Number 86044-94312.
3. The victim stated that he inadvertently contacted the rotation lever of the bolting machine when his right hand was gripping the drill steel. The rotation control lever is adjacent to the up and down boom control lever.
4. The victim's hand and forearm were wrapped around the drill extension in a clockwise manner. A downward motion on the lever for the rotation control will produce clockwise rotation.
5. The victim was wearing rubber metacarpal gloves as he was gripping the drill steel with his right hand. The glove wrapped around the drill steel, causing injuries to his hand and forearm. The glove involved in the accident was examined and found to have been torn in the palm area.
6. The rubber on the glove contributed significantly to the friction between the glove and the rotating steel extension of the bolting machine.
7. The adhesive backing from tape used to mark the depth of the drilled hole was present at the location Mays had positioned his right hand on the drill extension. This contributed to the friction between his rubber glove and the extension.
8. The drill steel which caught in the hole was hex sided and 42 inches long. The extension which caught Mays hand and glove was hex sided and 24 inches long. The outside diameter for each piece of steel was 7/8 inch.
9. The bolting machine operators at the mine wear leather gloves.
10. The roof bolting machine drill heads at the mine have deep chucks (four and one half inches). This allows for the inserting and operating of drill steel and extensions without the need to support the steel with the operator's hand when rotation starts.
11. Mays' training records were up to date, including task training records for the operation of a roof bolting machine.
12. Mays did not lose consciousness after the accident and the accident was never considered life threatening.
13. After initial surgery on May 29, 1999, and a period of recovery, Mays began therapy. During the therapy, Mays experienced pain in his right hand that required additional surgery. The additional surgery was performed on October 29, 1999, and the victim died two days later in the hospital.
14. An autopsy was performed by Lewis-Gayle Medical Center Laboratory in Salem, Virginia by Dr. Joy Bradley. The final diagnosis was "cardiac arrest probably secondary to myocardial ischemia which may have been the result of cardiac arrhythmia." This means his heart stopped and when examined had insufficient oxygen reaching the heart muscle possibly due to an irregular heart beat.
15. On March 22, 2000, MSHA determined that this death would be charged as a mine fatality.
CONCLUSIONThe accident occurred because the victim inadvertently contacted the rotation lever for the roof bolting machine while his hand was gripping the drill steel extension. The friction between the rubber lined gloves worn by the victim and the rotating steel extension contributed to the accident.
ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIESThere were no enforcement activities as a result of this accident investigation.
Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
APPENDIX AList of persons providing information and/or present during the investigation:
J. Michael Onifer..............................Mine Superintendent
Bill Hagy..........................................Assistant Mine Superintendent
Dave Berry.....................................Supervisor of Safety
Sam Beavers...................................Chief Electrician
Danny Atwell..................................Shift Foreman
Jerry Hinkle....................................Utility (Scoop Operator)
Dave Lusk......................................Roof Bolting Machine Operator
Raymond Begil...............................Roof Bolting Machine Operator
Opie McKinney..............................Mine Inspection Supervisor
Don Keen......................................Coal Mine Inspector
Charlie E. Walls..............................Supervisory Coal Mine Inspector
John S. Griffith................................Coal Mine Inspector
Roy D. Davidson............................Electrical Engineer
Jerry Hinkle....................................Utility (Scoop Operator)
Danny Atwell..................................Shift Foreman