Coal Mine Fatality – On Friday, September 7, 2018, a 60-year-old haul truck operator with 1 year of total mining experience received burn injuries while attempting to escape from the cab of the burning haul truck he was operating. Due to complications associated with his injuries, the victim died five days later.
Preventing a fire is the best fire protection. Install and maintain early fire detection and alarm systems on all haulage equipment that provide an audible and visible fire warning for miners to safely evacuate the equipment.
- Thoroughly examine all haulage equipment and repair safety defects before placing equipment into service. Follow the original equipment manufacturers maintenance recommendations.
- Check for accumulations of combustible materials, cracked or blistered hoses, and uninsulated wires.
- Be alert to changes in the way the equipment sounds or to a visible plume of exhaust coming from the exhaust system.
- Conduct risk assessments on all equipment to determine safe exit locations for required escape and evacuation plans.
- Establish and keep current an Escape and Evacuation Plan for exiting equipment in the event of a fire (§ 77.1101). Train employees on contents of this plan.
- Install well designed stairs or ladders to the equipment at both ends for an alternate escape.
- Ensure fire suppression systems are properly maintained and protected from damage. Install automatic fire suppression systems and train miners on their use.
This is the seventh fatality reported in calendar year 2018 in the coal mining industry and it is the first classified as Fire. As of this date in 2017, twelve fatalities were reported in the coal mining industry, with none in this classification.