COAL MINE FATALITY - On Tuesday, March 17, 2015, a 52-year-old contract truck driver was killed while driving a fuel truck on a mine haulage road. The tandem axle truck was found on its top near the bottom of a long descending grade which included a sharp curve to the right. The fuel truck was fully loaded with approximately 3,500 gallons of diesel fuel. After interviews, investigators could not determine if the victim was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.
- Always wear your seatbelt while operating mobile equipment.
- Incorporate engineering controls that require seat belts to be properly fastened before equipment can be put into motion.
- Monitor employees regularly to ensure seat belts are worn.
- Maintain full control of equipment at all times while it is in motion. Take into account weather and road conditions (steep grades, inclement weather, low visibility, etc.). Ensure work areas are properly illuminated at night.
- Never exceed a vehicle’s design capabilities, operating ranges, load limits, and safety features. Always select the proper gear and shift to this lower gear well in advance of descending grades.
- Maintain equipment braking systems in good repair and adjustment. Never rely on engine brakes and transmission retarders as substitutes for keeping brakes properly maintained.
- Conduct thorough pre-operational examinations to identify and repair defects that may affect the safe operation of equipment before it is placed into service.
- Post conspicuous signs along haulage roads to inform operators of speed limits, approaching grades and curves, and the use of an appropriate gear to maintain a safe speed.
This is the seventh fatality reported in calendar year 2015 in the coal mining industry and it is the second fatality classified as Powered Haulage. As of this day in 2014, there were two fatalities reported in the coal mining industry. At this time in 2014, there was one fatality in this classification.