District 5 - Coal Mine Safety and Health
A Near Miss
On Monday, February 10, 2003, at approximately 2:35 p.m., an unintentional roof fall accident occurred without warning. A remotely operated Joy 14CM10 continuous mining machine was loading the fourth or fifth load of coal from the last cut from a pillar block into a Joy 21SC shuttle car. The mining machine was fully entrapped by the fall which partially covered the shuttle car up to the inby end of the shuttle car's tram deck with the operator still under the machine's canopy. Shortly after the roof fall the shuttle car was recovered. No personal injuries were reported as a result of the incident. However, significant damage to the deck of the shuttle car and canopy assembly directly resulted when the approximately 5 foot thick by 20 foot long by 15 foot wide portion of shale roof with undetected slips struck the mining equipment. The accident occurred because a faulty pillar recovery method was being used (i.e., pillars had been mined from left to right and right to left on the same pillar line) and the majority of the mine timbers being used were too small for the height of coal being mined.
- Always follow the Approved Roof Control Plan for your mine including the mining sequence for pillar recovery.
- Thoroughly examine roof/rib conditions wherever you work or travel, especially during retreat mining where the roof tends to become unstable.
- Always use wooden mine timbers that are of the dimensions consistent with the mining heights being encountered.