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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Saturday, July 14, 2012, a 25-year old water truck driver with 31 weeks of experience was killed at a surface mine. The victim was driving a water truck down a grade in an active work area of the mine when he lost control of the truck. The truck struck a berm on the right side of the roadway, traveled across the roadway, struck an embankment on the left side of the roadway and overturned, ending up facing opposite the original direction of travel. The victim was found ejected from the truck.

Photo of Accident Scene Described in Paragraph Above

Best Practices

  • Train all employees thoroughly on proper work procedures, hazard recognition and avoidance, and proper use of roadway berms.
  • Conduct pre-operational checks to identify defects that may affect the safe operation of equipment before being placed into service.
  • Never operate a truck or other mobile equipment without using a seat belt.
  • Know the truck's capabilities, operating ranges, load-limits, and maintain the brakes and other safety features properly.
  • Construct roadway berms to appropriate strengths and geometries. Ensure all grades and haulage roads are appropriate for the haulage equipment being used.
  • Maintain control of equipment at all times, making allowances for the prevailing conditions (low visibility, inclement weather, etc).
  • Observe all speed limits, traffic rules, and ensure that grades on haulage roads are appropriate for haulage equipment being used.
  • Always select the proper gear and downshift well in advance of descending the grade.
  • Maintain equipment braking and steering systems in good repair and adjustment. Never rely on engine brakes and transmission retarders as substitutes for keeping brakes properly maintained.
  • Monitor work habits routinely and examine work areas to ensure that safe work procedures are followed.
  • Do not attempt to exit or jump from a moving vehicle .


  • 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 eleventh fatality reported in calendar year 2012 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2011 there were six fatalities reported in the coal mining industry. This is the first fatality classified as Powered Haulage in 2012. At this time in 2011 there were two fatalities 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