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COAL MINE FATALITY - On October 11, 2010, a 56 year old roof bolting machine operator with 31 years mining experience was killed in a roof fall. The victim was standing beside the roof bolting machine when a portion of a rock brow fell from between the roof bolts and struck him. The rock was approximately 6 feet long and 3 feet wide, and varied in thickness from approximately 7 inches, up to 24 inches.

Photo of Accident Scene Described in the Paragraph Above

Best Practices

  • Remain alert for changing roof conditions, and remove hazards immediately.
  • Roof brows that are created by a sudden change in mining height can create unsafe roof conditions and may require removal and/or additional roof support.
  • Know and always follow your Approved Roof Control Plan.
  • Don't leave freshly cut roof unbolted for long periods of time.
  • Use roof screen, large roof bolt plates, or other surface controls to prevent rocks from falling between supports.
  • Train all miners to identify unsafe roof conditions that are encountered daily.
  • Conduct thorough examinations in areas where miners will work or travel before and after work is completed.
  • Please see the following information related to roof bolter safety in the following links:
  • MSHA - Safety Targets Program - Roof and Rib Falls (Coal)
  • MSHA - Safety Targets Program - Roof Bolter Safety
  • 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 45th fatality reported during calendar year 2010 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2009, there were 13 fatalities reported in coal mining. This is the 3rd fatality classified as Fall of Roof in 2010. At this time in 2009, there was 1 fatality 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