Left side bolter operator Robert Maust died the evening of June 23 at Consol Energy’s Bailey longwall mine in southwestern Pennsylvania in a roof fall accident that occurred during corner cutting work.
“After the corner was cut, the continuous mining machine was backed up and repositioned to mine the straight of the No. 2 entry. [The] victim picked up a roof jack that was lying on the floor in the No. 60 crosscut, between the No. 2 and No. 1 entries, and began to set a jack beneath the brow [as a] continuous miner operator began to tram the continuous mining machine back to the face in the No. 2 entry,” a report released late last week explained.
After hearing a crack and witnessing a piece of rock fall from the roof, two of Maust’s co-workers found him and the roof jack beneath the rubble. The rock, primarily shale and including a thin band of roof coal, measured approximately 4 feet by 3.1ft by 3.5ft and was 9-11.5in in width.
The victim was pronounced dead at 12.17am June 24, about 90 minutes after the accident.
In its root cause analysis, MSHA found that the operator did not have procedures in place to install permanent supports on corners prior to operating inby the area.
It noted that no evidence of bad roof was recorded prior and the mine commonly set roof jacks on corners to provide temporary support until permanent supports could be installed.
To rectify the issue, federal officials ordered the Bailey mine to revise its roof control plan to require permanent support installation prior to working inby corners. The agency did not outline any citations or associated penalties in the report.
Consol’s 814-worker Bailey operation, which runs two longwall units and eight CMs, produces an average 44,000 raw tons daily on three shifts, seven days a week.
According to MSHA records, an ongoing inspection was being performed at the mine at the time of the incident. Bailey’s incidence rate in 2008 was 2.6, versus the national average of 4.36.