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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Friday, August 31, 2001, a 38-year old miner helper was killed by a roof fall. Prior to the accident, mining was started on the No. 6 crosscut from the No. 3 to No. 4 entry. The crosscut was notched approximately 15 feet, during which time the continuous mining machine got stuck several times. After freeing the machine, it was decided to clean the floor in the No. 3 entry. The machine was backed up and two cleanup passes were made. During the second pass, a roof fall occurred in the unsupported crosscut opening. The fall struck the victim who was located inby the ribline roof bolts at the crosscut opening. The rock that struck the victim was angular in shape, but at its biggest dimensions was approximately 72 inches long, 60 inches wide, and 3 to 21 inches thick. The miner helper had approximately 5 weeks total mining experience.

Drawing Depicting Roof Fall

Best Practices

  • The roof should be thoroughly examined to determine loose and unsafe areas of roof rock.
  • Miners should never stand or work under unsupported roof.
  • Openings that create an intersection should be permanently supported or at least one row of temporary supports should be installed on not more than 5-foot centers across the opening before any other work or travel in the intersection.
  • More Information E-mail Suggestion for Accident Prevention Program Submit your own suggestion for a remedy to prevent this type of accident in the future.
    Please specify if you wish your submission to be anonymous or whether your name may be used. Please include the year of the fatality and the fatality number.

    This is the 17th fatal accident reported for the coal mining industry in calendar year 2001. As of this date in 2000, there were twenty-four fatalities reported in this industry. This is the 7th fatal accident, classified as fall of roof, reported in the coal mining industry in 2001. At this time in 2000, there was one fatal accident, classified as fall of roof, in the coal mining industry.

    The information provided in this notice is based on preliminary data ONLY and does not represent final determinations regarding the nature of the incident or conclusions regarding the cause of the fatality.

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