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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Friday, February 1, 2008, a 34-year old field mechanic (contractor) with 13 years of experience was fatally injured while troubleshooting a diesel engine on a bulldozer. A valve cover, rocker assembly, and fuel injector had been removed from the cylinder head. The victim was observing the valve lifters while the engine was turned-over to place the lifters in a better position for retrieval. The victim was struck and fatally injured by material expelled from the cylinder head as the engine was cranked.

Photo of Accident Scene Described in the Paragraph Above
Bulldozer and rear of service truck
Photo of Accident Scene Described in the Paragraph Above
Cylinder head


Best Practices
  • Always wear eye protection when working near moving parts.
  • Follow equipment manufacturer's protocols and procedures when working on equipment.
  • Move to a safe location when there is a danger of high-pressure releases of fluids or objects.
  • Always use the proper tools, parts, and equipment to safely perform the work.
  • 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 third fatality reported in calendar year 2008 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2007, there were three fatalities reported in the coal mining industry. This is the first Machinery fatality in 2008. At this time in 2007, there were no 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