COAL MINE FATALITY – On Thursday, December 20, 2018, a mobile bridge carrier (MBC) operator, with 5 years and 21 weeks of mining experience, was fatally injured while operating his detached, remote-controlled machine during the mining process. As the continuous haulage system pulled forward in preparation of mining, he was crushed between the coal rib and the No. 2 mobile bridge conveyor that was between both mobile bridge carriers.
- Maintain communications between equipment operators of a continuous haulage system prior to starting or tramming any component of the system.
- Institute and maintain a high level of equipment-specific training for all operators, which includes proper operator positioning during machine operation and also protocols for certain scenarios.
- Do not position yourself in pinch-point areas while remotely operating equipment. Ensure that equipment operators remain in the confines of the equipment cab, if equipped, while the machine is running.
- Always perform thorough pre-operational examinations on mobile equipment to identify any defects that may affect the safe operation of equipment before it is placed into service.
- Be familiar with the de-energizing switches on your machine and remote-control unit. “Panic-out” at the first sign of a hazardous situation.
This is the tenth fatality reported in calendar year 2018 in the coal mining industry and it is the fifth classified as Powered Haulage (two of which involved an MBC). As of this date in 2017, fourteen fatalities were reported in the coal mining industry, with seven in this classification.