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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Tuesday, March 2, 2004, a 50-year old maintenance foreman with 31 years of mining experience was fatally injured when a coal stockpile collapsed as he directed work to prepare for the replacement of an underground feeder. A dozer removed coal stockpiled above the feeder, creating 58-foot high coal banks on both sides of the exposed feeder chute opening. The victim then stood near the chute and directed a front-end loader to maneuver a steel plate over the opening so that the feeder could be accessed from below. Immediately after the plate was placed over the feeder, the right coal bank partially collapsed. The victim was knocked down and covered with approximately three feet of coal.

Photo of Accident Scene

Best Practices

  • Evaluate each step in the work process for potential hazards before starting work.
  • Train employees in established safe work procedures, then ensure that they are complied with.
  • Position employees to prevent them from being exposed to hazards.
  • Examine work areas during the shift for hazards that may be created as a result of the work being performed.
  • Always remember: Any unconsolidated material sloped above its natural angle of repose is, by definition, UNSTABLE and potentially DANGEROUS.
  • 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 sixth fatality reported in calendar year 2004 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2003, there were seven fatalities reported in coal mining. This is the first fatality classified as Sliding Material in 2004. There were no Sliding Material fatalities 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