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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Tuesday February 10, 2004, at approximately 7:35 a.m., a 25-year old roof bolting machine operator with 7 years mining experience was fatally injured while operating a battery-powered track-mounted personnel carrier. The personnel carrier, transporting the victim and six other miners, had just entered the track portal through an open airlock door when it lost traction and began sliding down grade. The vehicle traveled approximately 139 feet before crashing through the closed inby airlock door. After traveling an additional 186 feet, the vehicle derailed and came to a stop. The victim received fatal injuries when struck by the door. The six passengers were uninjured.

Photo of Accident Scene

Best Practices

  • Avoid placing doors, switches, and other installations in haulageways where significant grades exist.
  • Ensure that sanding devices contain adequate sand and are working properly before operating track mounted equipment.
  • Exercise caution when approaching grades and operate track-mounted equipment at speeds consistent with grades and track conditions. Remember, as your speed increases, your ability to stop without sliding decreases and, once you start sliding, it becomes even more difficult to stop.
  • Install haulageway doors such that they can be opened on the fly without the need to stop and exit the equipment.
  • Ensure dead-man controls fail safe and do not neutralize brakes or dynamic retarding controls.
  • 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 fifth 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 second fatality classified as Powered Haulage in 2004. There was one Powered Haulage 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