Roof fall fatality in Alabama

AFTER an August roof fall fatality at Drummond Company’s Shoal Creek mine in Alabama, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a number of best practices.

Angie Tomlinson

On August 10 a 54-year old continuous mining machine operator with 15 months experience was injured when he was struck by a 30in by 30in by 6in piece of draw rock that fell from between the rib and roof bolts.


He was operating the continuous mining machine by remote-control while standing along the right rib when the accident occurred. The mine opening was about 11 feet high at the accident site.


The victim died of his injuries on November 15.


The MSHA said operators need to adhere to the following best practices to avoid similar accidents:

  • Train all miners on the importance of continual roof, face, and rib evaluations and the need to take corrective action as necessary;
  • Conduct a thorough visual examination of the roof, face, and ribs immediately before any work is started, and thereafter as conditions warrant;
  • Position yourself in a safe area;
  • Be alert to changing roof conditions at all times;
  • Scale down or support loose material; and
  • Use supplemental support for immediate roof control such as screen or larger roof bolt plates.