COAL MINE FATALITY - On December 2, 2016, a technical representative for a shield manufacturer, with 13 years of experience, received fatal injuries while adding components to the hydraulic system of a longwall shield. The victim was positioned inside the shield near the hinge point when the shield collapsed and crushed him.
- Ensure that miners who install, remove, or maintain shields are trained on proper procedures.
- Never remove hydraulic components without first determining if they are pressurized and/or supporting weight. Ensure all stored energy is released or controlled before initiating repairs.
- Never work on hydraulic components of both supporting cylinders of longwall shields simultaneously. A shield can collapse if hydraulic components from both cylinders are removed, even if both cylinders have functioning pilot valves.
- Never work on a component that supports a raised portion of the shield unless the shield is blocked against motion.
- Be aware of potential pinch points when working on or near hydraulic components. Examine work areas for hazards that may be created as a result of the work being performed.
- Maintain good communication with co-workers. Make sure those around you know your intentions.
This is the ninth fatality reported in calendar year 2016 in the coal mining industry and the third fatality classified as Machinery. As of this date in 2015, there were eleven fatalities reported in the coal mining industry. At this time in 2015, there were three fatalities in this classification.