The accident occurred during the evening hours of February 17 when William Junior Miller, 35, a roof bolter operator, was killed when the idle locomotive he was operating during a longwall move drifted forward towards a parked lowboy containing a longwall shield that projected beyond the end of it. Miller was crushed between the tip of the shield and the locomotive.
The agency issued the following best practices:
All shields and other materials loaded for transport should not extend beyond the haulage equipment and should not project into roadways. Additionally, all cargo should be secured;
An empty rail car should be placed near loads that overhang and appropriate draw bars should be placed between loads and locomotives;
When a tail motor is not utilised, trip lights are required;
Where clearance permits, protective cabs and canopies or vertical intrusion shielding pipes for mobile machinery must be provided; and
One should always look in the direction movement is progressing. Additionally, Caution should be exercised when advancing towards parked machinery and, when the locomotive stops, the automatic and manual braking systems should be engaged.
The agency has asked that suggestions for prevention of such accidents in the future be submitted through their site and said that submission authors may remain anonymous.
The fatality was the second of its kind in the US in 2006 classified under the agency’s heading of Powered Haulage. It was the twenty-first US fatality reported this year.