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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Monday, January 28, 2002, a clean coal filter drain pump exploded due to steam build up within the pump, inflicting fatal injuries to the fine coal operator at a preparation plant of an underground mine. The victim was standing approximately 8 feet away at the on/off switch when the pump cover struck him. The pump overheated after almost all liquids had been pumped from the filter drain tank causing the remaining fines to solidify, thus preventing flow. The inlet and discharge lines then became clogged with coal fines causing the pump to become a closed pressure vessel.

Photo Showing Faulty Pump

Best Practices

For pumps which may overheat due to loss of fluids or from cavitation:
  • Provide pump housing with thermal sensing device that will de-energize the circuit.

  • Provide pump with remotely located on/off controls.

  • Never de-energize an overheated pump from close proximity.

  • Install cut-off valves or other devices to prohibit back-flow of water into overheated pumps.
  • 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 3rd fatal accident reported in calendar year 2002 for the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2001, there were no fatals reported for the coal mining industry. This is the first fatal accident, classified as an exploding vessel accident in 2002. At this time in 2001 there were no fatal accidents, classified as exploding vessel accidents for 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