COAL MINE FATALITY - On July 3, 2013, an 87-year-old contract employee was mowing an impoundment embankment with a skid steer machine equipped with a front-mounted brush mower. The victim was mowing the 40 degree embankment in a vertical direction when the machine traveled into the impounded water, submerging the machine, and drowning the operator.
- Conduct a risk assessment prior to performing work and ensure that miners use proper equipment, tools, and procedures to eliminate hazards.
- Provide hazard training to all personnel working on or near an impoundment for recognition of hazards associated with the impoundment.
- Set up a communications protocol when persons are working alone.
- Wear properly fitted personal floatation devices (PFD) when working around bodies of water.
- Never assume an employee is knowledgeable in the task they are being assigned.
This is the 14th fatality reported in calendar year 2013 for the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2012, there were 10 fatalities reported in the coal mining industry. This is the first fatality classified as Other in 2013. At this time in 2012, there was 1 fatality in this classification. The miner drowned in the 2012 fatality.