DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
COAL MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH
REPORT OF INVESTIGATION
Fatal Machinery Accident
March 22, 2002
Rockhouse Energy Mining Company
Sidney, Pike County, Kentucky
ID No. 15-17651
Robert M. Bates
Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Mine Safety and Health Administration
100 Fae Ramsey Lane
Pikeville, Kentucky 41501
Franklin M. Strunk, District Manager
Release Date: June 10, 2002
On March 22, 2002, a 33 year old section foreman was fatally injured when he was caught between the conveyor boom of a continuous mining machine and the coal rib. Keith L. Casey (victim) was using a remote control unit to back the machine across the last open crosscut of the 001 section when the accident occurred. According to the only eyewitness, the victim was kneeling behind the machine, on the right side, while backing it through the crosscut. As the machine came through the intersection of the No. 2 entry and the last open crosscut, it suddenly moved to the right and pinned him against the rib. The accident occurred primarily because the victim was located too close to the pinch point created by the boom of the machine and the coal rib.
Rockhouse Energy Mining Company, Mine #1, is located at the intersection of Kentucky Route 468 and Rockhouse Road in Pike County, Kentucky. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of A.T. Massey Coal Company of Richmond, Virginia. The mine began production on March 17, 1995, in the Elkhorn No.3 coal seam, which has an average mining height of 70 inches.
The mine currently has two active sections, designated as 001 and 005. Coal is produced on the 001 section using continuous mining machines, shuttle cars, battery-powered scoops, and roof bolting machines. Two continuous mining machines, operated one at a time, are used on the 001 section to cut and load coal. The 005 section uses the longwall method of retreat mining. Coal is transported from each section to the surface using a series of belt conveyors.
A total of 139 persons are employed at the mine. The 001 section operates three shifts daily, five days per week. The 005 section operates three shifts daily, seven days per week. The combined coal production of these sections is approximately 6000 tons per day.
The last complete safety and health inspection of the mine by the Mine Safety and Health Administration was completed on March 22, 2002.
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT
On the day of the accident, the 001 section crew went underground at approximately 3:45 p.m. to begin the second shift of production. The crew arrived at the working section at 4:20 p.m. and production commenced at 4:45 p.m. At the time, the 001 section crew consisted of the following individuals:
1) Keith Casey, foremanTwo continuous mining machines, designated No.1 and No.2, were used on the section (one at a time) to develop three entries for the headgate of a projected longwall panel. In the mining process being used at the time, Robert Fuller operated one of the mining machines to cut coal while Keith Casey or Mike Coleman moved the other machine into position for the next cut.
2) Mike Coleman, electrician
3) Robert Fuller, continuous mining machine operator
4) Randy Fields, shuttle car operator
5) Homer Harmon, shuttle car operator
6) Larry Cantrell, scoop operator
7) John Daniels, roof bolting machine operator
8) Ronnie Daniels, roof bolting machine operator
Mining progressed normally during the shift, with cuts being taken in the No.3 entry and the 2-right crosscut. Shortly before the accident, Fuller backed the No.2 miner out of the 2-right crosscut and parked it in the No.2 entry, just inby the last open crosscut. He then proceeded to use the No.1 miner to cut coal in the No.1 entry (see Appendix, Figure 1).
Casey backed the No.2 miner out of the entry into the last open crosscut between the No.2 and No.3 entries in order to allow the roof bolting machine to be moved into the 2-right crosscut. The roof bolting machine was moved into the 2-right crosscut and the two roof bolter operators began installing roof supports (see Appendix, Figure 2).
At approximately 7:30 p.m., Casey trammed the miner forward into the crosscut between the No.1 and No.2 entries to allow a battery powered scoop, operated by Randy Fields, to be moved into the No.2 entry, immediately outby the last open crosscut (see Appendix, Figure 3). At this point, Coleman positioned himself approximately ten feet behind Casey and was watching him operate the miner.
Casey, who was positioned behind the boom of the miner on the right side, began backing the machine across the intersection into the crosscut between the No.2 and the No.3 entries (see Appendix, Figure 4). At some point during this procedure, the machine moved suddenly in the direction of Casey and pinned his head between the boom and the coal rib.
Coleman immediately informed Fields, who was sitting in the operator's compartment of the scoop in the No.2 entry, that Casey had been injured. Coleman also informed Fuller, who was in the No.1 entry operating the other continuous miner, that the accident had occurred. Fields ran to rear of the miner and saw Casey, on his knees, pinned between the boom of the miner and the rib. Fields removed the remote control unit from Casey's lap and handed it to Fuller, who moved the miner away from the rib to free Casey.
First aid was administered to Casey, but no pulse or other vital sign was detected at the time. Casey was carried on a stretcher to a personnel carrier located at the end of the track. It took approximately 45 minutes to transport Casey to the surface, where he was transferred to an ambulance and taken to Appalachian Regional Hospital in South Williamson, Kentucky. Casey was pronounced dead at the hospital at 9:55 p.m.
INVESTIGATION OF ACCIDENT
Garrett Blackburn, mine superintendent of Freedom Energy, Mine No.1 (a local Massey Energy subsidiary), reported the accident to MSHA at 8:13 p.m. on March 22, 2002. James Sammons, coal mine safety and health inspector, received the call for MSHA and recorded the preliminary information. Sammons relayed the information to Allen Dupree, assistant district manager for enforcement, and then proceeded to the mine. Robert Bates, electrical engineer, and James Brown, coal mine safety and health inspector, were dispatched to the mine site to begin the investigation.
A joint investigation was started by MSHA and Kentucky Department of Mines and Minerals (KDMM) to determine the root causes of the accident and to prevent a similar occurrence in the future. James Sammons issued a 103(k) Order to protect the safety of all persons until an investigation could be made to determine the extent of the hazards contributing to the accident.
The investigation team examined the scene, took measurements and photographs, and informally interviewed employees who were in the mine at the time of the accident. The continuous mining machine involved in the accident was put through a series of operational tests to verify that it was functioning properly. No functional defects were observed during tests at the mine site.
Formal interviews were conducted on March 25, 2002, at the MSHA district office in Pikeville, Kentucky. Eight miners and the mine superintendent were interviewed during this session. The interviews were tape recorded and later transcribed.
On March 26, 2002, Jerry Dransite and Kevin Dolinar, electrical engineers from MSHA's Approval and Certification Center, examined the accident scene and the continuous miner involved in the accident. The remote control unit, transmitter, receiver, and demultiplexer were taken into custody for further testing by MSHA. The onsite portion of the accident investigation was completed on March 27, 2002, and the 103(k) Order was terminated.
On April 3, 2002, the remote control components taken into custody by MSHA were tested at the Matric Limited facility in Seneca, Pennsylvania. The testing was performed by Matric Limited technicians and was observed by the following individuals:
1) Chris Adkins, Massey EnergyThe tests revealed no operational or physical defects that could have contributed to the accident.
2) Frank Foster, Massey Energy
3) Keith Hainer, Massey Energy
4) Darvin Spencer, Massey Energy
5) Robert Bates, MSHA
6) Kevin Dolinar, MSHA
7) Jerry Dransite, MSHA
8) Michael Muse, Joy Mining Machinery
9) David Thomas, Joy Mining Machinery
10) Doug Sturtz, Matric Limited
11) Fabian Dechant, Matric Limited
1. Mike Coleman, electrician, was the only eyewitness to the accident.
2. The accident occurred in the last open crosscut of the 001 section near survey station No. 10122.
3. The mine floor in the immediate area was dry. The mine floor in the intersection of the last open crosscut and the No.2 entry was significantly uneven. The floor in the middle of the intersection had been worn down by the passage of mining equipment, creating an uneven depression approximately 12 to 16 inches deep.
4. The height (mine floor to roof) in the immediate area varied from 78 to 96 inches. The height at the boom end of the miner was 90 inches.
5. The outby rib of the crosscut between entry Nos. 1 and 2 was offset from the outby rib of the crosscut between entry Nos. 2 and 3 by approximately three feet. This offset would have required the rear of the machine to be rotated toward the inby rib as it traversed the intersection . This also would have reduced the clearance between the tip of the boom and the right rib.
6. The continuous mining machine involved in the accident was manufactured by Joy Mining Machinery. The model number of the machine was 12CM12-11BX and the serial number was JM5049A. The MSHA approval number was 2G-3334A-02.
7. The continuous mining machine was being operated by remote control at the time of the accident. The remote control system was made up of the following components:
� Matric Limited Remote Control Multiplexer, Model 205-376, P/N 603120-35, S/N 59704W010, MSHA IA-4609. A second remote control unit was being used on the same working section at the time of the accident to control a continuous mining machine operating in the No.1 entry. Tests were conducted to determine if this remote unit would affect the continuous mining machine involved in the accident. No cross activation was indicated during any of the tests.
� Matric Limited Permissible Radio Transmitter, Model 500-256 (318MHz), P/N 601843-0136, S/N 25606W0012C, MSHA Approval 9B-170-1
� Matric Limited Cavity RF Receiver, Model 500-255 (318 MHz), P/N 601843-0135, S/N 25511AA005B, MSHA IA-461-1
� Matric Limited Demultiplexer Control Panel, Model 500-200, P/N 601843-0086 Rev. B, S/N 20012Y0008, MSHA IA-457
10. No shoulder strap was attached to the remote control unit involved in the accident. According to employees interviewed during the investigation, the common practice was to hold the unit with one hand and operate it with the other.
11. When the accident investigation team first examined the scene, the controls on the remote unit were in the following position:
� Pump/Traction - Fast12. The continuous mining machine was configured for the following tram speeds:
� Auxiliary (enables highest tram speed) - Run
� Gathering Head/Conveyor - Run
� Cutter Motor - Off
� Emergency Shutdown Switch - Not Engaged
� Tram Switches -Centered
� 15 ft/min - Pump/Traction set to "LOW"13. The continuous mining machine was configured such that when the tram switches were split (one forward, one reverse) the highest track speed possible was 30 ft/min. However, if only one of the tram switches was operated the highest track speed was 65 ft/min.
� 30 ft/min - Pump/Traction set to "HIGH" and Auxiliary set to "OFF"
� 85 ft/min - Pump/Traction set to "HIGH" and Auxiliary set to "RUN"
14. During the investigation measurements were made in an effort to determine how fast the tip of the boom would move toward the rib. The end of the boom was positioned 3 feet from the point of impact on the right rib and then the tram switches were split (right tram switch forward, left tram switch reverse). The tip of the boom covered the distance to the rib in approximately two seconds (1.5 feet per second). A second test was performed with the boom of the miner positioned 9 feet, 4 inches from the point of impact. The tip of the boom covered the distance to the rib in approximately four seconds (2.3 feet per second).
15. Joy Mining Machinery also calculated the time it would take the boom of the miner to travel three feet, to the right, under the following conditions:
� Machine initially stopped, then tram switches split - 1.22 secondsseconds 16. The remote control system components from the machine involved in the accident were tested at the Matric Limited facility in Seneca, Pennsylvania. The components were tested together as a unit, and individually, to verify proper operation. The system passed all of the tests administered by the manufacturer.
� Machine initially moving in reverse at 85 ft/min, then right tram switch released - 1.89
17. A hook was installed on the end of the boom of the continuous mining machine to attach cable-handling straps. During tramming operations, straps attached to the trailing cable are looped over the hook to help pull the cable along with the machine. One of these straps was attached to the hook at the time of the accident. At this mine, the person operating the continuous miner was also required to position the trailing cable and water line to keep them out of the path of the machine.
18. The boom of the continuous mining machine was extended fully to the right (45 degrees) at the time of the accident. This boom position is commonly used during tramming to keep the trailing cable clear of the machine tracks.
19. At the time of the accident, the tip of the boom was 39 inches above the mine floor.
20. All persons interviewed indicated that the machine was operating normally prior to the accident.
21. A review of the company's training records indicated that the victim had received task training on the operation of the remote control continuous mining machine. The victim had also received training regarding the approved roof control plan.
The root cause of the accident was the failure to ensure that all workers followed the safety precautions specified in the approved roof control plan in regard to not standing or walking between the continuous miner and the coal rib while the miner is in motion.
The primary cause was the victim's failure to position himself a safe distance behind the continuous miner while it was being trammed.
Other possible contributing factors in the occurrence of the accident were the high tram speed, the uneven mine floor, the offset of the outby rib in the last open crosscut, and the fully extended position of the conveyor boom.
1. 103(k) Order No. 4013514 was issued on March 22, 2002, to protect the safety of all persons until an investigation could be made to determine the extent of the hazards contributing to the accident.
2. 104(a) Citation No. 7389525 was issued on April 9, 2002 for failure to follow the safety precautions specified on pages six and fifteen of the approved roof control plan. The roof control plan requires that, during place changing, all persons will remain outby the boom of the miner while it is being trammed. The plan also requires that while the miner is in motion no person will be located between the machine and the coal rib.
List of Persons Participating in the Investigation
Massey Energy / Rockhouse Energy Mining Company
Chris Adkins ............. Director of ProductionKentucky Department of Mines and Minerals
Patsy Cain ............. Safety Director
Frank Foster ............. Safety Coordinator
Gary Goff ............. Mine Superintendent
Keith Hainer ............. Electrical Engineer
Shane Harvey ............. Attorney
Darvin Spencer ............. Electrical Engineer
Brad Fuller ............. Electrical InspectorMine Safety and Health Administration
Greg Goins ............. Accident Investigator
Randall Little ............. Inspector
Tracy Stumbo ............. Chief Accident Investigator
Robert M. Bates ............. Electrical EngineerLIST OF PERSONS INTERVIEWED Larry Cantrell ............. Scoop Operator
Kevin Dolinar ............. Electrical Engineer
Jerry Dransite ............. Electrical Engineer
James Sammons ............. Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Mike Coleman ............. Electrician
John Daniels ............. Roof Bolter Operator
Ronnie Daniels ............. Roof Bolter Operator
Randy Fields ............. Shuttle Car Operator
Robert Fuller ............. Continuous Mining Machine Operator
Gary Goff ............. Mine Superintendent
Homer Harmon ............. Shuttle Car Operator
Steve Hensley ............. Scoop Operator