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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Thursday September 1, 2011, a 29-year-old contract driller with 1 year, 3 months of experience was killed at a surface coal mine. The victim was attempting to separate a pipe connection when he was struck by a tong wrench. The rig was being used to drill a water well. The crew was working to free the drill stem that was stuck in the drill hole when the accident occurred.


Photo of Accident Scene

Best Practices
  • Stand a safe distance from areas of potential high energy release.
  • Know the radius of machinery that pivots.
  • Establish and follow safe work procedures.
  • Ensure all components are adequately blocked and secured to prevent unintended motion.
  • Know the limitations of equipment used for blocking motion and ensure that they are used within their specified limitations.
  • Ensure all components are in good repair.
  • Establish and follow communication procedures.

  • 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 14th fatality reported during calendar year 2011 in the coal mining industry. This is the fifth fatality classified as a Machinery accident in 2011. Forty-three coal mine fatalities occurred in 2010 within the same period. Three Machinery fatalities occurred in 2010 in the same period.



    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