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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Saturday, December 3, 2011, at approximately 8:35 a.m., a bulldozer operator with 18 years of mining experience was seriously injured when the bulldozer he was operating travelled over a highwall and fell approximately 90 feet to the pit below. The victim was in the process of clearing topsoil from the bench in preparation for the next blast. The victim was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the bulldozer. The victim died on December 6, 2011, from the injuries sustained in this accident.


Photo of Accident Scene

Best Practices
  • Ensure the ground control plan is adequate for the mining conditions.
  • Perform examinations of ground conditions, and perform additional checks during the work shift to ensure ground conditions have not changed.
  • Mark the limits of travel with pylons or reflectors.
  • Be aware of your location and proximity to the highwall. When operating a bulldozer close to an edge, always keep the blade between you and the edge. Bulldozer operators should not operate their machines parallel to the edge of highwalls.
  • Use a spotter to warn equipment operators when they approach the edge of a highwall.
  • Ensure seat belts are provided, maintained, and worn at all times.
  • Never jump out of equipment.
  • Visit MSHA's Safety Target Single Source Page for additional safety information concerning bulldozers.

  • 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 22nd fatality reported during calendar year 2011 in the coal mining industry. At this time in 2010, there were 43 coal mine fatalities. This is the 8th Machinery fatality in 2011. At this time in 2010, there were 3 Machinery fatalities.



    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