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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Tuesday, April 17, 2007, a 51-year old excavator operator and a 38-year old bulldozer operator, with 15 years and 2 years of mining experience respectively, were fatally injured when a highwall failed. Both miners were operating equipment beneath the highwall measuring approximately 275 feet high, 240 feet wide, and 90 feet deep. The work was being performed near old underground mine works.

Photo Showing Accident Scene Described in Paragraph Above

Best Practices
  • Develop ground control plans that specify remedial measures for adverse conditions such as those presented by old underground mines.
  • Do not work near dangerous highwalls or banks and be aware of changing highwall conditions.
  • Train examiners to recognize adverse conditions and environmental factors that can decrease stability.
  • Involve front line supervisors when developing mining plans and apply prudent engineering principles to address normal and adverse conditions.
  • 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 5th and 6th fatalities reported during calendar year 2007 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2006, there were 24 fatalities reported in coal mining. This is the first fatality classified as Fall of Face, Rib, or Highwall in 2007. At this time in 2006, there were two fatalities in this classification.

    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