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Coal Longwall Recovery Accidents Safety Alert

From September 1996 to November 2017, the mining industry experienced five fatal accidents when a section of the face or roof fell and struck miners positioned between the longwall face conveyor and coal face. The miners were in this location performing work, such as shoveling coal or installing supplemental support for the face and roof to aid recovery of the longwall equipment.
Best Practices
  • Examine the roof, face and ribs, including sound and vibrations tests, from a safe, supported position during pre-shift examinations and periodically as work is performed and as conditions warrant.
  • Correct hazardous roof, face, or rib conditions before any work or travel is permitted in the affected area:
    • Support the exposed longwall roof, and face, by mechanical means in the immediate work area.
    • From a safe location beneath support, use a bar of suitable length and design to
    • remove loose or unconsolidated material.
    • Remove slipping and tripping hazards from the work area.
  • Follow all roof control plan parameters when performing work around the longwall face area.
  • Task train all miners to recognize all hazardous conditions on the longwall face and how to safely abate the hazard before beginning work.
  • Notify the headgate operator, de-energize the face conveyor and the shield control units, and disconnect and lock out power at the control station before work is performed on the face conveyor (pan). Adequately support the pan from inadvertent movement. Do not re-energize equipment until all persons are in the clear and off the face side of the pan.