COAL MINE FATALITY – On Wednesday, February 21, 2018, a 38-year-old highwall mining machine operator, with 21 years of total mining experience, was electrocuted when he contacted an energized connection of a 7,200 volt electrical circuit. The victim was found inside a transformer station troubleshooting and/or performing electrical work on the electrical system that supplies power to the mining machine.
- Lock-Out and Tag-Out the electrical circuit yourself and NEVER rely on others to do this for you.
- Follow these steps BEFORE entering an electrical enclosure or performing electrical work:
- Locate the circuit breaker or load break switch away from the enclosure and open it to de-energize the incoming power cable(s) or conductors.
- Locate the visual disconnect away from the enclosure and open it to provide visual evidence that the incoming power cable(s) or conductors have been de-energized.
- Lock-out and tag-out the visual disconnect.
- Ground the de-energized conductors.
- Wear properly rated and well maintained electrical gloves when troubleshooting or testing energized circuits. After the electrical problem has been found, follow the proper steps before performing electrical work
- Use properly rated electrical meters and non-contact voltage testers to ensure electrical circuits have been de-energized.
- Install warning labels on line side terminals of circuit breakers and switches stating that the terminal lugs remain energized when the circuit breaker or switch is open.
- Electrical work must be performed by a qualified electrician or someone trained to do electrical work under the direct supervision of a qualified electrician.
This is the second fatality reported in calendar year 2018 in the coal mining industry and it is classified as Electrical. As of this date in 2017, there were two fatalities in the coal mining industry, neither of which was in this classification.