DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
REPORT OF INVESTIGATION
FATAL FALL OF ROOF
Baylor Mine (ID No. 46-05592)
Baylor Mining, Inc.
Eccles, Raleigh, County, West Virginia
May 29, 2001
Curtiss Vance, Jr.
Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Joseph C. Zelanko
Originating Office - Mine Safety and Health Administration
100 Bluestone Road, Mount Hope, West Virginia 25880
Edwin P. Brady, District Manager
Release Date: November 1, 2001
On Tuesday, May 29, 2001, at approximately 8:15 a.m., a fatal roof fall accident occurred on the 1st Right 005-0 MMU Medina Mains section of the Baylor Mining Inc, Baylor Mine. The accident resulted in fatal injuries to Bryant Dewayne Nary, section foreman. Nary had 34 years of mining experience; he had 30 years experience as a foreman including 6� years as foreman for the Baylor Mine. Nary's primary duties were that of section foreman on the pillar mining unit. Nary and the continuous miner helper were attempting to set the 5 breaker posts adjacent to the No. 12 pillar block where mining of the 1st left lift had just been completed. As the victim attempted to set the first breaker post, the posts that had previously been set inby their location suddenly began loud popping and breaking. Attempting to escape, the victim ran down the middle of the No. 3 entry and sustained fatal injuries when he was caught under the outby end of the roof fall. The continuous miner helper who had been inby the victim, escaped injury by running toward the right rib line and following the rib to a safe outby location.
The Baylor Mine, Baylor Mining Inc., is located along State Route 3 near the town of Eccles, Raleigh County, West Virginia. The Baylor Mine began operation in December of 1992 by Baylor Mining Inc., a contractor for Beckley Smokeless L.L.C., which was a wholly owned subsidiary of Anker Energy. Anker Energy was at that time owned by Wilheim Roteire and John Faltis.
The mine, developed from the slope bottom into the Beckley coal seam, ranges from 36 to 96 inches high. The mine currently provides employment for 35 miners working two production shifts and one maintenance shift.
Coal is mined using a continuous mining machine doing both development and pillar recovery. Coal is transported from working face areas to belt conveyor systems via shuttle cars. Belt conveyors move the coal from underground to a surface loadout facility. Transportation to and from the underground work areas is provided via track mounted and rubber tired battery equipment.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ACCIDENT
On Tuesday, May 29, 2001 at 7:00 a.m., the day shift crew under the supervision of Bryant D. Nary, began its regular shift at the top of the slope traveling underground to the 1st Right 005-0 MMU Medina Mains pillar section. Upon arrival at the work area around 7:20 a.m., Nary made an examination of the pillar line across the section. Carl Murdock, continuous miner operator and helper Wayne Dahmer made a visual examination of the No. 3 entry to determine if mining of No.12 and No. 13 pillar could begin. After determining that conditions along the pillar line permitted mining in the No. 3 entry, the continuous mining machine was trammed into the entry between the No. 12 and No. 13 pillars and set up to begin mining the 1st lift from the right side of No. 12 pillar. Shuttle car operators Robert Lee and Dallas Thomas moved cables out of the shuttle car roadways while the continuous mining machine was being set up in No. 3. Nary instructed Mark Nunn, scoop operator, and Greg Kessler, timberman to set the breaker posts in the left cross cut outby the No. 12 pillar. When the eight breaker posts had been set at around 7:45 a.m., mining of the first lift in the No. 12 pillar began. Mining of the lift proceeded without incident.
Nary, standing outby the continuous mining machine, told Murdock that it seemed the place was getting worse. Murdock and Nary agreed to load one more shuttle car, back the continuous mining machine out, and set timbers. Murdock loaded the last shuttle car and began to back the continuous mining machine out of the pillar. Dahmer was along the right rib line of the No. 3 entry keeping the machine cable out of the roadway as it was being backed. Nary moved to the front of the machine once it cleared the mined out lift and placed the first breaker post. He asked Dahmer to get him a half header and wedges so he could set the post. Dahmer gave Nary a half header and was getting wedges from under the timber pile laying at the front of the previously set breaker posts. As Dahmer raised a post to pull out the wedges laying under the pile of timbers, the previously set breaker posts began popping loudly. Both Nary and Dahmer ran down No. 3 entry for a safer location outby the pillar line. Nary ran down the middle of the entry and Dahmer ran down the right rib line. Murdock was still backing the continuous mining machine through the outby crosscut when the roof fall occurred. Upon hearing the fall, Murdock turned toward the pillar line and saw Nary's light fade out. He also saw Dahmer coming down the right rib line and asked him if Nary was down. Dahmer said he couldn't see because there was too much dust.
A short time later, when the dust blown into the air by the fall cleared, Dahmer told Murdock to get some help because Nary was under the fall. Murdock yelled at scoop operator Mark Nunn to call outside and get more help. Dahmer instructed Lee and Thomas to help set some timbers. Ronald Roark, electrician, was near the shuttle cars and heard Dahmer say Nary was covered up, so he retrieved a hydraulic jack and took it to the fall area. When Roark arrived with the hydraulic jack Dahmer, Murdock, Nunn, Lee and Thomas were setting breaker posts on the outby end of the roof fall. Roark checked the victim for a pulse and found none. Roark then began cleaning out some small rock at the front edge of the fall to set the lifting jack to raise the fallen rock enough to recover the victim.
The mine foreman, Gary Frampton and chief electrician, Charles Blankenship were notified of the accident by the outside man. They arrived at the accident site just as the last breaker posts were being set outby the roof fall. Frampton checked the victim for a pulse several times as the rock was being raised, but none was found. Frampton and Roark recovered the victim from under the roof fall about 20 minutes after he was initially trapped. The victim was placed on a stretcher and transported to the surface where he was transported to the Raleigh General Hospital in Beckley, West Virginia by emergency medical services. The victim was pronounced dead upon arrival by a physician.
INVESTIGATION of the ACCIDENT
The Mine Safety and Health Administration was notified at 9:00 a.m., on May 29, 2001, that a miner had been fatally injuried by a roof fall in the pillar section of the mine. MSHA personnel began arriving at the mine site at 9:30 a.m. and were briefed by mine management. A 103(k) Order was issued at 9:50 a.m. by MSHA personnel to ensure the safety of the miners. The MSHA investigation team, and the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training, jointly conducted the investigation with assistance of mine management and employee's of the Baylor Mine. A list of those persons who were present and/or participated in the investigation is included in Appendix A.
All parties were briefed by mine management personnel as to the circumstances surrounding the accident.
On May 29 and 30, 2001, representatives from all parties conducted the on-site portion of the investigation. Photographs were taken and relevant measurements and sketches were made of the accident site.
Interviews of individuals believed to have knowledge of the facts concerning the accident were conducted at the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training conference room May 30, 2001, in the town of Oak Hill, Fayette County, West Virginia.
The physical portion of the investigation was completed June 3, 2001 and the 103(k) Order was terminated.
Records indicated that training received by Nary was in accordance with 30 CFR, Part 48.
The examination record books indicated that daily pre-shift and on-shift examinations of the underground mine were being conducted in accordance with 30 CFR Part 75.
Baylor mine operates in the Beckley coalbed. This coalbed is comprised of up to three splits and varies in height generally between 36 and 96 inches. The immediate and main roof of the mine consists primarily of gray sandstone. The roof control plan indicates that the immediate roof may include up to 15 inches of draw rock or firm shale. Drill core logs and underground observations indicate that coal and shale are present in transition zones. Overburden depths range from 350 to 750 feet. There is no overmining or undermining of the Beckley seam at this location.
The Medina Mains section was initially driven in a northeasterly direction as a 6 entry panel with the entries and cross-cuts developed on 75-foot centers. Reportedly, development mining ceased in this direction due to deteriorating roof conditions and water inflow as the section approached Surveyor Creek.
Retreat mining began on May 23, 2001 in the row of pillars immediately outby survey station 9122. A twinning mining sequence (cuts to the left and right from the same entry) was being used with wood breaker, lift, and turn posts.
According to mine maps, portions of 12 pillars in three rows had been extracted in the current panel prior to the fatal accident. The accident occurred in the No. 3 entry between pillar blocks 12 and 13 approximately 38 feet inby survey station 9108. At this location, the uppermost two splits of the Beckley seam (A and B) were being mined. Mining height across the section ranged from 6 to 8 feet and entries were nominally 20 feet in width. Just outby the accident site in entry No. 3, mining height measured 71/2 to 8 feet and entry width measured 19 to 20 feet. Overburden at the accident site was estimated to be 450 feet.
Roof conditions on the Medina section outby the accident site were generally good. The roof was suported with 42-inch-long, 5/8-inch-diameter, Grade 60 fully-grouted rebar installed in conjunction with a six inch by six inch donut-embossed bearing plate. These primary supports were installed on 4 to 5 foot crosswise spacing and 4 foot lengthwise spacing. Reportedly, no unplanned roof falls had occurred on the section during development. Several shallow, horseback features associated with slickensided shales, sandstone with carbonaceous streaks, and coarse pebble conglomerates were observed outby the pillar line. The features ran in a north-south direction and appeared to be generally limited in extent (e.g. affected areas were 10 to 15 feet wide and did not extend across multiple entries). Rib sloughage was not severe but was most prominent near the retreat line and on the left side of the section. Increased overburden and developed rooms present to the northwest of this section may have contributed to the increased sloughage.
Testimony indicated that the intersection containing survey station 9117, just inby the accident site, had not fallen prior to the accident and eight breaker timbers had been installed outby the intersection in entry No. 3. The continuous miner, a remote-controlled Joy 14CM15, had backed out of the cut and the victim and timberman were in the process of setting the first of five breaker posts when the fatal roof fall occurred. The wing lift had been turned approximately 45 degrees to the left out of entry No. 3. The distance from the outby rib of the wing lift to the outby corner of pillar No. 12 was approximately 21 feet. The original width of pillar No. 12 at this location, as depicted on a mine map, was 48.5 feet. Portions of pillar 12 had been extracted on a previous shift as the twinning cut sequence was employed on the right side of entry No. 2. The Medina section had been idle for three days prior to the day of the accident due to the weekend and Memorial Day holiday. The day shift on Tuesday was the first production shift since the previous Friday.
The fall was estimated to be approximately 30 feet wide by 40 feet long with a thickness up to 7-1/2 feet. The fallen material contained sandstone beds of varying thickness with interspersed shales and carbonaceous layers. A sandstone unit which had formed the immediate roof line was prominent within the fallen material since it remained largely intact at the edge of the fall. Based on observations of the fall cavity, it appeared that this sandstone unit was approximately 2 1/2 to 3 foot thick on the northeast side and thinned toward the opposite side.
It is the consensus of the investigation team that the accident occurred when a large section of the sandstone mine roof suddenly fell across the breaker posts into the No. 3 entry fatally injuring a section foreman. It is believed the roof fall was an extension of a previous partial roof fall in the inby pillared out roll that was being supported by the inby end of the No. 12 pillar block. Due to the size, weight and solid nature of the section of mine roof that fell, it is believed that once the 1st lift of the coal pillar supporting the mine roof was mined out, the weight of the roof exceeded the capacity of the remaining supports allowing it to fall suddenly and with little warning.