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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Thursday, May 17, 2012, at approximately 12:00 p.m., a 57-year-old mechanic was killed at a coal preparation plant. The victim was standing on a 14-foot fiberglass extension ladder when it became unstable and slid across an I-beam. He fell down an adjacent hoist well opening 39 feet to the concrete floor below. He was attempting to cut and remove a 12-inch hoist beam located above the third floor in the plant.

Photo of Accident Scene Described in Paragraph Above
Best Practices

  • Use fall protection when working in an elevated position and securely tie-off where the danger of falling exists.
  • Ensure all workers are adequately trained in the use of fall protection and restraint devices.
  • Examine fall protection equipment and personal protective equipment before each use. Ensure that defective equipment is replaced.
  • Use a ladder only on a stable and level surface, unless it has been secured (top or bottom) to prevent displacement.
  • Properly position ladders to ensure that footing is secure, that the ladder is resting in a manner that prevents movement, and that the ladder is protected from being struck by moving objects.
  • Keep your body centered between the rails of the ladder at all times. Do not lean too far to the side while working.


  • 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 eighth fatality reported in calendar year 2012 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2011, there were four fatalities reported in the coal mining industry. This is the second fatality classified as a Slip or Fall of Person accident in 2012. At this time in 2011, there was no 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