COAL MINE FATALITY - On Friday, November 30, 2012, a 58-year old bulldozer operator with 37 years of experience was killed when an upstream slope failure occurred at a coal slurry impoundment. The victim was grading the upstream slope at the time of the accident. The bulldozer was carried into the pool area during the slide and sank with the victim on board.
- Provide hazard training to all personnel working on or near an impoundment for recognition of hazards associated with the impoundment and pushout work, such as surface cracks or bubbling in water/slurry.
- Review safety precautions for upstream construction with equipment operators, along with material handling safety policies and designated storage areas for safety equipment.
- Provide oversight by knowledgeable personnel at the work site. Assure that a person is present who is familiar with the mechanics of upstream construction and can recognize and have unsafe work practices and conditions corrected immediately.
- Remove all personnel to a safe location when unsafe impoundment conditions are present.
- Prior to initiating push-outs, expose the slurry delta by pumping excess surface water down to the maximum extent possible, and for as long as possible.
- Use two-way radios or similar devices on all equipment during impoundment related construction, so that potential hazards can be communicated quickly with equipment operators and personnel.
- Maintain a work skiff with oars and life jackets near the pushout area.
This is the nineteenth fatality reported in calendar year 2012 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2011 there were twenty fatalities reported in the coal mining industry. This is the first fatality classified as Impounding Dam (Other) in 2012. At this time in 2011, there were no fatalities in this classification.