COAL MINE FATALITY - On Friday, December 29, 2017, at approximately 12:57 a.m., a 34-year-old bulldozer operator with 10 years of mining experience was fatally injured. While pushing overburden toward the edge of a highwall, the bulldozer he was operating travelled over the edge, down an embankment, and came to rest approximately 400 feet from where it went over the highwall.
- Ensure the bulldozer blade is kept between you and the edge when operating close to drop offs. Dump loads short of the highwall edge and push one load into another to maintain a safe distance from the edge.
- Inspect the area before beginning work and remain familiar with the environment throughout the shift. Plan the safest way to move material and maneuver equipment.
- Reduce the throttle position when working near the edge of a highwall.
- Properly illuminate work areas and dump sites.
- Perform complete and thorough examinations of ground conditions.
- Always wear a seatbelt when operating mobile equipment. Monitor work activities routinely to ensure seatbelts are worn and safe work procedures are followed.
- Ensure miners are trained, including task-training, to understand, recognize and avoid hazards associated with the work being performed.
- Conduct pre-operational examinations to identify any safety defects. Correct safety defects prior to placing equipment into service.
This is the fifteenth fatality reported during calendar year 2017 in the coal mining industry. This fatality is classified as a machinery accident. As of this date in 2016, there were eight fatalities reported in coal mining, three of which were classified as machinery.