United States
Department of Labor

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Fatality Alert - Fatality #1 - January 28, 2015

Accident Report: Fatality Reference: 
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COAL MINE FATALITY – On Wednesday, January 28, 2015, a 43-year-old continuous mining machine operator with 10 years of mining experience was killed when he was pinned between the conveyor boom of a remote controlled continuous mining machine and a coal rib.  The victim was operating the continuous mining machine from a remote position in the entry and was preparing for the next mining cycle when the accident occurred.

Accident scene where  a 43-year-old continuous mining machine operator with 10 years of mining experience was killed when he was pinned between the conveyor boom of a remote controlled continuous mining machine and a coal rib.
Best Practices: 
  • Install and maintain proximity detection systems to protect personnel and eliminate accidents of this type. See the proximity detection information page on the MSHA website (ProximityDetection).
  • Avoid "RED ZONE" areas when operating or working near a continuous mining machine, especially when moving a remote controlled continuous mining machine.  Frequently review, retrain, and discuss avoiding "RED ZONE".
  • Ensure all miners, including the continuous mining machine operator, are outside the machine’s turning radius before starting or moving equipment.
  • Stay behind moving mobile equipment when traveling in the same entry, and maintain a safe distance from any moving equipment.
  • Use low tram speed when moving a continuous mining machine where the left and right traction drives are operated independently.  The continuous mining machine pivots quickly when the tracks tram over raised areas of the mine floor.
  • Never turn your back to a self-propelled machine or get into an area where it can swing into you.
  • Develop and follow effective policies and procedures for starting and tramming self-propelled equipment.  Train all miners regarding these policies and procedures.
  • Ensure that the continuous mining machine operator has full visibility of the area while tramming equipment.
  • Assign another miner to assist the continuous mining machine operator when the machine is being moved or repositioned.
Additional Information: 

This is the first fatality reported in calendar year 2015 in the coal mining industry and it is classified as Machinery.  As of this date in 2014, there was one fatality reported in the coal mining industry, and there was no fatality in this classification.