United States
Department of Labor

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Fatality Alert - Fatality #15 - December 16, 2014

Accident Report: Fatality Reference: 
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COAL MINE FATALITY – On Tuesday, December 16, 2014, a 34-year-old repairman, with approximately 15 years of mining experience, was killed when struck by a ram car while he was walking inby toward the face of the No. 7 entry. The ram car operator moved the ram car into the No. 7 entry with the batteries positioned outby the face area and then traveled towards the face area, striking the victim with the left side, trailer end of the ram car.

Location of ram car relative to the victim
Best Practices: 
  • Use proximity detection systems to protect personnel from accidents of this type.  See the proximity detection single source page on the MSHA web site.
  • Ensure that visibility is clear in the direction of travel and across the equipment being operated.
  • Use transparent curtain for checks and line curtains in the active face areas.
  • Sound audible warnings if the equipment operator’s visibility is obstructed, when making turns, reversing direction, or approaching ventilation curtains.  Ensure the sound levels of audible warnings are significantly higher than ambient noise.
  • Come to a complete stop and sound an audible warning before moving equipment through ventilation controls/curtains.
  • Operate lights in the direction of travel when operating haulage equipment.
  • Position yourself in an area or location where equipment operators can readily see you and confirm eye contact with the operator.
  • Require the use of personal strobe lights for any foot traffic inby the tailpiece.  Position personal strobe lights on the back of hard hats or equivalent areas and use reflective materials to ensure maximum visibility.
Additional Information: 

This is the 15th fatality reported in calendar year 2014 in the coal mining industry.  As of this date in 2013 there were 20 fatalities reported in the coal mining industry.  This is the 5th fatality classified as Powered Haulage in 2014.  At this time in 2013, there were six fatalities in this classification.