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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 where two miners died when a back failure occurred in a large four-way intersection.
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.”