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District 4



Justice # 1 Mine (ID 46-07273)
Independence Coal Company, Inc.
Uneeda,, Boone County, West Virginia

January 2, 2002

Roger D. Richmond
Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector/Accident Investigator

Don Winston
Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector/Roof Control Specialist

Joe Zelanka
Pittsburgh Safety and Health Technology Center

Originating Office � Mine Safety and Health Administration
100 Bluestone Road, Mt. Hope, West Virginia 25880
Edwin P. Brady, District Manager

Release Date: May 6, 2002


On January 2, 2002, at approximately 1:05 p.m., Danny Adkins, age 44, continuous mining-machine operator, was fatally injured when he was struck by a portion of mine roof. The rock that struck the victim was broken into two irregular shaped pieces measuring approximately 6-1/2 feet long by 4-1/2 feet wide and 7 feet long by 6 feet wide. The pieces ranged from about 1-1/2 to 4-1/2 inches thick. Adkins had been operating a continuous miner in the No. 2 right crosscut and positioned himself in an unsafe location after shearing off 7 roof bolts while turning the crosscut. The approved roof control plan was not being followed in that the victim was working under unsupported roof. Reflectors to aid miners in determining positions for maximum safety were not hung in the No. 2 entry in accordance with the plan. The victim was recovered, brought to the surface, and transported by Boone County Ambulance Authority to the Boone Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:05 p.m. by Dr. Carmelo Lopez, M.D.


Independence Coal Co., Inc., Justice #1 Mine, ID No. 46-07273, is located in Uneeda, Boone County, West Virginia. The mine is accessed by 3 drifts and 1 shaft into the Powelton seam. The coal seam is typically 38 to 52 inches thick and averages 37 inches thick at the accident scene.

Employment is provided for 110 underground and 9 surface employees. The mine operates three shifts per day, six days per week, producing 25,000 tons of raw coal daily from two continuous mining-machine sections and one longwall LS shear unit. Coal is transported from the face to the section dumping point by shuttle cars on the continuous mining-machine sections, by chain conveyor on the longwall unit, and on to the surface via belt conveyor.

The Justice #1 mine has a blowing ventilation system utilizing one main mine fan blowing and three fans exhausting, with the main mine fan producing 405,800 cfm. The mine liberates approximately 3,000,000 cubic feet of methane gas in a 24 hour period. Face areas are ventilated using both exhausting and blowing line curtain during development.

The roof-control plan in effect at the time of the accident was approved by the Mine Safety and Health Administration on July 23, 2001. The immediate main roof consists of 3-1/2 feet of grey shale, 38 - 52 inches of coal. The main roof is shale and sandstone, 8 -12 inches of rider coalbed and 6 - 30 feet of shale and sandstone. The approved roof control plan requires fully-grouted resin bolts to be installed on a 4-1/2 feet wide by 4 foot long pattern.

The principal officers for Justice #1 Mine at the time of the accident were Mark Clemens, President; Roger Nicholson, Secretary; Jeff Jaronsinski, Treasurer; and Raymond Coleman, Safety Director.

The last Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Inspection (AAA) was completed on December 19, 2001.

The Non-Fatal Days Lost (NFDL) incident rate during the previous quarter was 6.61 for underground mines nationwide and 5.99 for this mine. Four lost time contractor accidents are not included in the mine's NFDL incidence rate.


On Wednesday, January 2, 2002, at approximately 6:15 a.m., the day shift crew of the No. 7 headgate section, Independence Coal Company, Inc., Justice #1 Mine entered the mine via the shaft elevator. The nine man crew, accompanied by Section Foreman Darren Gordon, traveled via the track from the shaft to the No. 7 headgate section. The crew arrived on the section at approximately 6:45 a.m. The midnight shift crew was assembled at the section power center when the day shift crew arrived. The main line belts were not running when Gordon and the crew arrived. Gordon called by mine telephone to see what the problem was with the main line belts and was informed that the belts would have to stay off until some belt splices were replaced or repaired.

Gordon instructed the crew to get the equipment ready to operate by pulling up miner cable slack and servicing the equipment. Gordon instructed Danny Adkins (victim) and Steve Gillenwater, shuttle car operator, to retrieve the first aid sled and equipment. Gillenwater stated that when the belts started running at approximately 9:30 a.m., he and Adkins proceeded to the No. 4 entry to start running coal.

James Ingram, shuttle car operator, was helping Anthony Castle, scoop operator, load rock dust when the belts started running. Gillenwater began hauling coal from the No. 4 entry with Ingram's shuttle car. When Ingram arrived on the section, he too began to haul coal from the No. 4 entry. Ingram had made approximately three trips from the No. 4 entry when the shuttle car damaged the continuous miner power cable. While the right side continuous miner cable was being repaired, the left side continuous miner began mining in the No. 1 entry. The cable repairs on the right side continuous miner were completed when about half of the cut in the No. 1 entry had been mined. Ingram and Gillenwater continued to haul from the No. 1 entry until the full cut was loaded out. In the meantime, the right side miner was moved from No. 4 entry where cable repairs had been made, to the No. 2 entry in preparation for turning the right crosscut.

Earlier in the day, Gordon had asked Roger Cox, left side continuous mining machine operator, to relieve Adkins out on the right side miner at 1:00 p.m. because both he and Adkins needed to leave early.

When mining was finished in the No. 1 entry, Cox ate lunch. After eating lunch, he went to the No. 2 entry where Adkins was mining the No. 2 right crosscut. Adkins informed Cox that he was having a little trouble getting the crosscut turned on centers because the entry was on an up-hill grade. Adkins had mined approximately 20 to 25 feet into the crosscut and started backing the miner out when Cox noticed the roof above the miner had begun to slough. Cox stated that this was normal and he thought Adkins was going to back up and bump the rock with the head of the miner and knock it down.

About the time Adkins backed the miner half way out of the cut, the rock fell on the head of the miner. Cox stated that when the rock fell on the head of the miner, more rock started peeling back to where he and Adkins were standing. Turning to his right, Cox ran to a safer outby location. He then turned and asked Adkins if he was all right, but could not see him. Cox returned to Adkins' previous location and found him covered by the fallen rock. Cox yelled for Gillenwater to come and help him hold the rock off of Adkins. They both yelled to Ingram for help. Cox, Gillenwater, and Ingram flipped the rock off of Adkins. Ingram assessed Adkins' condition and asked that the trauma kit be brought to the scene in order to administer oxygen to Adkins because he was having trouble breathing. Cox went to the telephone and called outside to inform management that an accident had occurred and to call for medical help. Ingram asked Gillenwater to get George Runion and Carl Hawkins, roof bolt machine operators, to assist in getting Adkins on a stretcher and transporting him to the surface. A stretcher was not present with the first aid equipment; one was constructed out of wood, fly board, and fly pad material.

While in transit, Adkins quit breathing. Runion and Ingram started CPR and continued until they arrived at the elevator where they were met and relieved by medical attendants from the Boone County Ambulance Authority. Adkins was transported to the Boone Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:05 p.m. by Dr. Carmelo Lopez, MD.


MSHA was notified at 2:15 p.m. on January 2, 2002, that a serious accident had occurred. MSHA accident investigators were dispatched to the mine. A 103(k) order was issued to insure the safety of the miners until the accident investigation could be completed. The investigation was conducted in cooperation with the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety, and Training (WVMHST), with the assistance of the operator and their employees. Those persons who participated, were interviewed, and/or were present during the investigation are listed in Appendix A of this report.

Representatives of MSHA, WVMHST, and the company traveled to the underground accident site and conducted a thorough investigation of existing physical conditions. Photographs, video recordings, and relevant measurements were taken. Sketches and a survey were also conducted of the site.

Interviews with persons who had knowledge of the accident were conducted on January 3, 2002, at the Independence Coal Co., Inc., training facility. The investigation also included a review of training records and records of required examinations. The physical portion of the investigation was completed on January 2, 2002.


A review of training records indicated that training had been conducted in accordance with 30 CFR, Part 48, and was up-to-date.


Examination of records and on-site evidence indicated that the required examinations were conducted and recorded in accordance with 30 CFR, Part 75.

Physical Factors

1. The Justice #1 Mine operates in the Powellton coalbed. Overburden at the mine site varies from 200 to 1,100 feet, and the coal seam thickness ranges from 38 to 52inches. The coal seam is immediately overlain by approximately 3 feet of thinly bedded gray mudstones, shale and sandy shales that are extracted along with the coal seam. Mining has also been conducted in the Winifrede, Coalburg, Stockton, and 5-Block coal seam, which are approximately 435, 585, 685, and 850 feet above the Powellton seam, respectively.

2. The accident occurred on the 7 Headgate, 003-0 MMU section. This section was developing set-up/bleeder entries for a future longwall panel. Entries were mined on 105 foot centers with crosscuts on 100 foot centers. No. 1 entry, a longwall set-up room, was mined 22 feet wide and entries No. 2 to No. 4 were mined 18 to 20 feet wide. Crosscuts typically are turned from the No. 2 entry to the right toward No. 3 and the rest are driven straight through. The fatal roof fall occurred in the No. 2 entry as the crosscut was being turned.

3. Six feet, 3/4 inch diameter, tensioned rebar roof bolts and 8 inch square plates were installed as primary support in entries No. 2 through No. 4. The bolts were point anchored with a nominal 3 foot grouted length. The approved roof control plan specifies that these bolts are to be installed on a pattern of 4 to 5 feet between bolts (4 bolts per row) and a maximum of 4 feet between rows. In No. 1 entry, five bolts are installed per row and bolts on the outside (rib side) are required to be 1 foot longer than the inside bolts. Crosswise and lengthwise spacing of bolts in No. 1 entry is a maximum of 4 feet. In addition, this entry typically is supplemented with 8 foot long cable bolts.

4. In No. 2 entry just outby the accident site, entry width was 20 feet. Four bolts were installed per row and row spacing averaged 3.38 feet. Entry height was 87 inches.; approximately 17 inches of floor rock and 24 inches of roof rock was being mined along with 37 inches of coal at this location. The floor consisted of well-cemented, very fine-grained shale with bedding laminations spaced less than 1/2 inch apart. The roof rock was well-cemented gray silty shale, commonly with alternating 1/8 - 1/2 inch black and brown bands. Two 1-inch black shale layers, which occurred with great regularity across the section, were located approximately 12 to 14 inches above the top of the coal seam from No. 1 entry to No. 4 entry. Bedding planes were laterally continuous, smooth (with flat oriented mica flakes), and closely spaced (laminations less than 0.05 inch apart) with major partings 1/4 - 3/8 inch apart.

5. Overburden is estimated to be 920 feet at the accident site. The nearest workings in the overlying Winifrede and Stockton seams were more than 1000 feet laterally from the accident site. Room-and-pillar workings overlie the accident site in the Coalburg seam, and No. 5 Block workings approach to within 200 feet of the site laterally. Although the accident site had been overmined, no significant pillar deterioration was noted on the 7 Headgate section. Minor cutter roof damage was observed within several crosscuts of the faces. Cutters occurred near the rib line and in at least one instance resulted in a 4 - 7 foot long elongated pot-out. Damage appeared to be most prevalent within the first 8 to 12 inches of shale in the immediate roof. Directional features suggested a preferential failure orientation of approximately N30 - 40� W.

6. Subsequent to the accident, fallen rock was observed on the continuous mining machine and outby the machine in the No. 2 entry. The top of the broad slab of gray shale that fell was a very well developed, smooth bedding plane several inches above the immediate roof horizon. The rock on the machine fell from unsupported roof in the crosscut but the rock that struck the victim originated in previously supported roof in the No. 2 entry. The slab that struck the victim was broken into two irregularly shaped pieces measuring approximately 6-1/2 feet long by 4-1/2 feet wide and 7 feet long by 6 feet wide. The pieces ranged from about 1-1/2 to 4-1/2 inches thick, and their combined weight was estimated to be 1,600 pounds. The larger of the pieces had been penetrated by four drill holes. Three holes were roof bolt holes and the fourth was a test hole. Portions of the three failed roof bolts were observed in the mine roof above the slabs. Average spacing between bolts in the two rows of bolts was approximately 2-2/5 feet. These broken bolts protruded 1-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches from the roof and were bent inby toward the crosscut. The heads of the failed bolts and the plates were not found.

7. Bit marks were visible in the fallen slab and in the immediate roof adjacent to where the slab had fallen from. One set of bit marks was aligned with No. 2 entry. These marks were made by the continuous miner as the entry was being developed. A second set of bit marks was observed at an acute angle to the first. These marks were made by the continuous mining-machine as the crosscut was being turned. The angled bit marks were observed immediately adjacent to several of the bolt holes in the fallen slab, suggesting that the bolts had been cut out by the cutter head. In addition, several bolts were cut out inby the fallen slab and one bolt head along the right rib adjacent to the slab was intact but appeared to have been damaged by the cutter head. The floor appeared to be lower along the right side of No. 2 entry where the turnout was initiated. Measurements indicated that one set of angled bit marks occurred 11 feet 9 inches from the turnout. Similar patterns of cut-out bolts and bit marks were observed in several crosscuts outby the accident site. Four such bolts were observed near spad #5 and three were located near spad #17; the cut-out bolts had been replaced in each instance.


It is the consensus of the investigation team that the fatal accident occurred because provisions of the approved roof control plan were not followed prior to and during the mining of the No. 2 right crosscut. Reflectors required by the approved plan to aid equipment operators in determining their positions for maximum safety during mining operations were not hung in the No. 2 entry. Danny Adkins, continuous mining-machine operator, sheared off seven (7) roof bolts in the No. 2 entry when he began mining the No. 2 right crosscut. Adkins was positioned under a portion of unsupported mine roof when it fell.


1. A 103 (K) Order No. 3568811 was issued to ensure the safety of all persons in the mine until an investigation was completed to determine that the affected area was safe.

2. A 104(a) Citation No. 7205861 was issued citing 30 CFR 75.220(a)(1), stating in part that the approved roof control plan was not being followed on the No. 7 Headgate section. The warning devices (reflectors) were not hung in the No. 2 entry in accordance with the approved roof control plan.

3. A 104(a) Citation No. 7205863 was issued citing 30 CFR 75.202(b), stating in part that the continuous mining machine operator (victim) was fatally injured while working under unsupported roof. The victim sheared off seven (7) roof bolts and positioned himself under the unsupported roof when mining the No. 2 right crosscut on the No. 7 Headgate section.

Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon FAB02C01


The Mine Safety and Health Administration conducted an investigation and those present and/or participating were as follows:

Independence Coal Co., Inc.
Frank Foster .......... Safety Director for Massey Coal Sales
Richie Henderson .......... Vice President
Roger Spencer .......... Mine Foreman
Norman Hill .......... Superintendent
Carlos Porter .......... Mine Manager
Raymond Coleman .......... Safety Director
Drexel Short .......... President of Operations
Jim Gay .......... Chief Engineer
Bob Addair .......... Safety
West Virginia Miners' Health, Safety, and Training
Terry Farley .......... Health & Safety Administrator
Mike Rutledge .......... Safety Inspector
Harry Linville .......... Supervisor
Eugene White .......... District Underground Inspector
Kerry Heron .......... District Underground Inspector
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Roger D. Richmond .......... CMS & H Inspector/Accident Investigator
Don Winston .......... CMS & H Inspector/Roof Control Specialist
John Brown .......... CMS & H Inspector
Terry Price .......... Field Office Supervisor
Jim Beha .......... CMS & H Specialist/Accident Investigator Coordinator
James O. Maynard .......... CMS & H Inspector
The following persons were interviewed during this investigation:
Roger Cox .......... Left Side Continuous Miner Operator
Darren Gordon .......... Section Foreman
James Ingram .......... Shuttle Car Operator
Ronald G. Gillenwater .......... Shuttle Car Operator
Roger Runion .......... Roof Bolter Operator