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COAL MINE FATALITY - On November 4, 2013, a 36 year-old longwall chief, with 16 years of experience, was killed while shoveling loose coal and rock between the coal face and the pan line on a longwall section. The victim received crushing injuries when a solid piece of coal and cap rock fell from the coal face, striking and pinning him against the face side of the pan line. The coal/rock combination measured approximately 4 feet and 10-inches long, by 2 feet and 3 inches wide, and up to 24 inches thick.

Diagram of Accident Scene Described in Paragraph Above

Best Practices

  • Conduct a thorough examination of the roof, face, and ribs, including a visual examination and a sound and vibration test prior to miners being assigned to work or travel through an area.
  • Correct hazardous roof, face, or rib conditions before any work or travel is permitted in the affected area.
  • Use a bar of suitable length and design for removing loose or unconsolidated material.
  • Support the exposed longwall roof, face, and ribs by mechanical means in the immediate work area.
  • Train all miners in hazard recognition and safe work practices that are assigned to perform work on the longwall face.
  • Apply additional safety precautions in areas where geological changes and anomalies in strata are present.
  • Post a certified foreman at the work area when maintenance is being performed.
  • De-energize the face conveyor, notify the headgate operator, and disconnect power at the control station while work is being performed on the face conveyor (pan). Do not energize the conveyor until all persons are off the face side of the conveyor and the conveyor is supported adequately from inadvertent movement.

  • 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 19th fatality reported in calendar year 2013 for the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2012, there were 16 fatalities reported in the coal mining industry. This is the 2nd fatality classified as Fall of Face, Rib, Side or Highwall in 2013.



    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 - Not Available Yet.