United States
Department of Labor

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Fatality Alert - Fatality #15 - October 4, 2013

Accident Report: Fatality Reference: 
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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Friday, October 4, 2013, a 62-year-old longwall maintenance coordinator, with 42 years of mining experience, was killed while supervising the face conveyor chain installation on a longwall set up. A battery-powered scoop was being used in conjunction with a sheave block and wire rope to pull the top conveyor chain through the pan line toward the tail drive. The chain became fouled and the victim positioned himself to observe the cause of the problem. As the scoop continued to tram, the sheave assembly and wire rope, which were under tension, came loose and propelled forward. The sheave assembly struck the victim.

Photo of accident scene
Best Practices: 
  • Ensure that chains, wire ropes, and hooks are properly attached or rigged.
  • Ensure persons are positioned in a safe location before tension is applied when pulling or lifting with chains, wire rope, or other rigging. This includes staying out of a potential line of flight of components in case of an equipment failure.
  • Inspect devices for signs of wear such as rust, metallic loss, fraying of rope, broken strands in cables, elongation of metal, etc.
  • Never weld hooks on equipment in order to attach ropes or chains for towing or hoisting.
Additional Information: 

This is the 15th fatality reported in calendar year 2013 for the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2012 there were 16 fatalities reported in the coal mining industry. This is the fifth fatality classified as Machinery in 2013. At this time in 2012 there were 2 fatalities in this classification.