Skip to content
PDF Version

COAL MINE FATALITY - On Saturday, May 20, 2006, at about 1:00 a.m., an underground explosion occurred that resulted in the deaths of five miners and injury to one miner. The accident occurred at the start of the maintenance shift. Four of the six miners underground, including the survivor, were located in the active working section at the time of the explosion.

Diagram of Accident Scene Described in Paragraph Above
Click on Picture to Enlarge

Best Practices
  • Maintain Sufficient Ventilation: Ample ventilation is the first line of defense against an ignition or explosion.
  • Apply Rock Dust Liberally: Generous applications of rock dust can prevent the propagation of coal dust explosions.
  • Make Frequent Tests for Methane: Gas tests should be made more frequently during periods of dropping barometric pressures. Also, gas tests must be made at all locations that could be contacted by flame or sparks immediately before and continuously during any welding, cutting, or soldering activity, which shall not be conducted in air that contains 1.0 percent or more of methane.
  • Maintain Effective Bleeder Systems and Seals: Monitoring the efficiency of ventilation systems is critical to ensure gases are continuously diluted and carried away from active workings. Examinations should also ensure that seal water traps contain sufficient fluid to maintain effective isolation.
  • Clean Up Loose Coal, Coal Dust and Other Combustible Material: The possibility of a fire or explosion can be diminished by reducing the fuel supply.
  • 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.

    These are the 27th-31st fatalities reported during calendar year 2006 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2005, there were five fatalities reported in coal mining. These are the 13th-17th fatalities classified as Ignition/Explosion of Gas/Dust in 2006.

    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