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COAL MINE FATALITY - On July 2, 2003, a 49 year old continuous mining machine operator, with 30 years of mining experience, was fatally injured when he was struck in the neck by a small piece of metal. The operator had mined 12 feet of coal from the left side of 2 left crosscut and moved the continuous mining machine to the right side of the working place. Approximately 18 inches of coal was mined from the right side when the operator was struck in the neck by a broken bit fragment.

Drawing of Accident Scene

Best Practices

  • Inspect bits for wear or damage and replace them when either is observed.
  • Ensure that all water sprays are operating properly to cool cutting bits, particularly when cutting rock.
  • Evaluate equipment during repairs, removing any metal burrs and determining if further repairs are necessary when scraping of metals is obvious.
  • Wear personal protective equipment at all times.
  • 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 20th fatal accident reported in calendar year 2003 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2002, there were 15 fatalities reported in the coal mining industry. This is the fourth fatal accident classified as machinery reported in the coal mining industry in 2003. At this time in 2002, there was one fatal accident classified as machinery 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