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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Thursday February 5, 2004, a 33-year old electrician with six years mining experience was fatally injured while repairing a damaged 995 volt trailing cable. During a mine-wide power outage, the victim began repairing a damaged continuous mining machine trailing cable. While preparing to splice the third and final power phase, underground electrical power was restored and the electrical circuit breaker was engaged in the closed position causing a fatal electrical shock. The continuous mining machine trailing cable plug was not tagged or locked out.

Photo of Accident Scene

Best Practices

  • Personally lock-out and tag-out electrical circuits before you perform electrical work on a cable or component.
  • Do not rely on someone else to deenergize or disconnect a circuit for you.
  • Never assume that a circuit breaker will not be reset - even if there is no apparent reason for resetting the breaker.
  • Never disturb or ignore an electrical tag or lock.
  • Thoroughly communicate to determine that it is appropriate to reset a breaker.
  • 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 fourth fatality reported in calendar year 2004 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2003, there were five fatalities reported in coal mining. This is the first fatality classified as Electrical in 2004. There was one Electrical fatality at this time in 2003.

    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