United States
Department of Labor

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Fatality Alert - Fatality #5 - February 12, 2013

Accident Report: Fatality Reference: 
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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Tuesday, February 12, 2013, a 51-year-old motorman with 31 years of mining experience was seriously injured while attempting to re-rail a shield carrier. The shield carrier was raised with an air bag. The victim was attempting to straighten the wheels and pry the wheel flange high enough to clear the rail. As the wheel flange cleared the rail, the shield carrier shifted, causing the slate bar to fly back and strike the victim in the face. The victim later died of the injury.

Photo of accident scene
Best Practices: 
  • Block or secure equipment being raised against motion so it cannot suddenly shift.
  • Always be aware of the stored potential energy when raising or lowering items.
  • Make sure the lifting device has a secure base before lifting an item.
  • When lifting items and the desired height cannot be reached, block the item in position and lower the lifting device to establish a higher base.
  • Ensure that personnel are trained to recognize hazardous work procedures where inadvertent movements could cause injury.
  • Discuss work procedures and identify all hazards associated with the work to be performed, along with the methods to protect personnel.
  • Ensure personnel are equipped with proper equipment and are knowledgeable of safe procedures for rerailing.
Additional Information: 

This is the fifth fatality reported in calendar year 2013 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2012 there was one fatality reported in the coal mining industry. This is first fatality classified as Powered Haulage in 2013. At this time in 2012, there was no fatality in this classification.