COAL MINE FATALITY - On Friday, November 4, 2005, a 40-year old chief electrician with 17 years of mining experience received a fatal electrical shock while demonstrating the use of a high-voltage cable fault locating device. The victim was explaining cable fault locating procedures to another electrician in the mine office when he contacted an energized component of the test unit. The voltage selector was set on 10,000 volts at the time of the accident.
High-voltage testing devices should only be operated by qualified electricians who have received thorough training on the specific model of tester being used. Follow the manufacturer's instructions explicitly and keep the owner's manual with the device at all times. Wear properly rated high-voltage electrical gloves while operating such devices. Properly ground the device before the unit is turned on. Ensure that all mine personnel are familiar with the device voltage and current capabilities. Store such devices in a secured dry location, accessible only to qualified electricians.
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This is the 16th fatality reported during calendar year 2005 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2004, there were 23 fatalities reported in coal mining. This is the first fatality classified as Electrical in 2005. There were four fatalities in this category at this time in 2004.
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:
MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report