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December 14, 2020 Fatalities - Fatality Alert

Accident Report: Fatality Reference

MINE FATALITIES – On December 14, 2020, two miners died when a back failure occurred in a large intersection. The miners were drilling in an attempt to intercept water leaks when blocks of salt and anhydrite fell from beneath a slickenside onto the miners.

Accident scene

Best Practices


  • In areas of excessive span or adverse geology:
    • Install supplemental ground support to control strata movement.
    • Install sag monitors or extensometers to detect ground movement or strata separation.
    • Drill and evaluate test holes for strata separation using a borescope or scratch test.
  • Use geologic hazard mapping to identify adverse conditions.
  • Be alert to any change of ground conditions.
  • Report hazardous or abnormal conditions.
  • Perform thorough workplace examinations where miners work or travel.
  • Identify and scale hazardous ground conditions from a safe location.
  • Train miners to recognize hazards and follow safe work practices, especially before they perform new tasks.

Additional Information

These are the 27th and 28th fatalities reported in 2020, and the second and third classified as “Fall of Roof or Back.”