Continuous miner operator Bobby Smith, 29, of Perry County was working at Leeco’s Mine No. 68 on the afternoon of June 24 when he was caught between the right rib and the remote control continuous miner he was operating.
The 12-year mining veteran was the fifth coal death in 2010 in Kentucky and the 39th overall for the US industry.
In hopes of preventing future similar incidents at other mines in the nation, MSHA urged operators to install MSHA-approved proximity detection systems on continuous mining machines.
The agency has an existing single-page web page on the topic, here, where mines can research the latest technology, research and available systems.
Federal regulators also encourage operations to avoid red zone areas associated with remote CM machines and other mobile equipment.
Further information and training resources are also available at the agency website here.
Other ways to help avoid such incidents, according to MSHA, include ensuring equipment is being operated safely, especially in low mining heights or in slippery and uneven floor conditions.
Workers should also maintain equipment in safe operating condition and always observe work practices, providing feedback to management in a timely manner.
MSHA encourages anyone with additional prevention ideas to submit them through its website, including the year of the fatality and the fatality number.
Smith’s death was the third in 2010 to be classified by the agency under Machinery.
The 119-worker Leeco operation is owned by James River Coal.