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Fatality #2 - January 12, 2008

Accident Classification: Fall of Face, Rib, Side or Highwall
Location: Sulphur Springs Strip, Texas
Mine Controller: Energy Future Holdings Corporation
Mine Type: Surface
Mined Material: Coal (Lignite)
Incident Date/Time: January 12, 2008 05:07 am

On Saturday, January 12, 2008, at approximately 5:07 a.m., Thomas E. Farmer, a 50-year old shovel operator with 22 years mining experience, was fatally injured by a highwall failure that occurred in Pit 11, Area G at the Luminant Mining, Sulphur Springs Strip mine. The highwall was approximately 45 feet high with water draining from the face. The accident occurred when Farmer went on break at 5:00 a.m. He dismounted the shovel and positioned himself between the outside of the shovel track and the toe of the highwall. While in that position, he was struck by material that fell from the highwall. The material pinned Farmer in an upright position against the track side-frame assembly and buried him to his upper chest and neck. He was subsequently discovered by a co-worker, but resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. 

The accident occurred because management failed to correct and/or danger off a hazardous ground condition and allowed miners to work below the hazardous condition before it was corrected. Contributing factors included management's failure to assure that the ground control plan and the company's safety plan were being followed. Persons were allowed to work between equipment and a dangerous highwall where equipment hindered escape from falls or slides from the highwall. 


COAL MINE FATALITY - On Saturday, January 12, 2008, a fall of highwall accident resulted in fatal injuries to a shovel operator with 22 years of mining experience. The shovel was located parallel to and approximately 40 feet away from the toe of the highwall which was approximately 45 feet high. During a normal work break, the shovel operator climbed off the shovel. While the shovel operator was positioned between the toe of the highwall and the shovel, the highwall collapsed and pushed the victim against the track of the shovel. After returning to the pit and finding the shovel operator missing, a haul truck driver radioed for assistance. The shovel operator was found mostly covered in the sandy loam type material from the highwall. The victim was recovered but CPR was unsuccessful.