United States
Department of Labor

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Fatality Alert - Fatality #5 - May 28, 2015

Accident Report: Fatality Reference: 
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COAL MINE FATALITY – On May 28, 2015, a 45-year-old surface foreman with 27 years of experience was killed when he was crushed between the frames of a road grader and a tractor that was transporting a base power module for a highwall miner.  The foreman was in the process of connecting a chain between the two machines when the road grader rolled back and crushed him.

Photo of Accident Scene Described in the Paragraph Above
Best Practices: 
  • Never position yourself between equipment that is not blocked and secured from movement.
  • Turn the engine off, place the transmission in gear, set the park brake, and always ensure equipment is securely blocked against motion, before performing repair or maintenance work, which includes connecting tow bars.
  • Use a tow bar with adequate length and proper rating when towing heavy equipment.  A chain should never be used to tow mobile equipment.
  • If mobile equipment must be towed, the equipment should be on level firm ground and secured from movement prior to connecting the equipment.
  • Ensure miners are adequately trained on proper towing procedures.
  • Ensure mobile equipment operators are aware of your location at all times.
  • Maintain communications with mobile equipment operators while working in close proximity to equipment.  Utilize radios to communicate when visual contact cannot be maintained.
  • Maintain equipment braking systems in good repair and adjustment.  Do not depend on hydraulic systems to hold mobile equipment stationary.
  • Conduct pre-operational examinations to identify and repair defects that may affect the safe operation of equipment before it is placed into service.
Additional Information: 

This is the fifth fatality reported in calendar year 2015 in the coal mining industry and it is the second fatality classified as Machinery.  As of this day in 2014, there were seven fatalities reported in the coal mining industry.  At this time in 2014, there were three fatalities in this classification.