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COAL MINE FATALITY -On Wednesday, December 16, 2009, at approximately 8:40 pm, a 35-year old continuous miner operator with 12 years mining experience was fatally injured due to a roof fall. A piece of shale rock measuring 13 feet in length, 6 feet in width, and 13 to 16 inches in thickness fell on the victim while operating the remote-controlled continuous mining machine. The victim was cleaning up the right side of an extended cut, which cut the 5-Right crosscut into the No. 6 entry.

Diagram of Accident Scene Described in the Paragraph Above
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Best Practices
  • Never exceed the maximum cut depth specified in the approved roof control plan.
  • Do not mine extended cuts when adverse or subnormal roof conditions are present. The cut depth should be limited to 20 feet or less.
  • Persons should never expose any portion of their body inby the second row of undisturbed permanent roof supports when extended cuts are being mined.
  • Mine first cuts in a cross cut in a manner which reduces the radius of the outby corner to that specified in the roof control plan.
  • Take down loose roof rock as the cut is mined.
  • When developing rooms or panels off mains or sub mains, keep pillar block orientations consistent with the minimum entry and crosscut centers specified in the approved roof control plan.
  • 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 18th fatality reported in calendar year 2009 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2008, there were 29 fatalities reported in the coal mining industry. This is the second Fall of Roof or Back fatality in 2009. At this time in 2008, there were four 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