The incident marks the eighth coal mine fatality recorded in the US in 2008.
On April 22, a 61-year-old roof bolting machine operator with 30 years experience was fatally injured while observing a continuous mining machine in operation.
A rock measuring 36in x 72in x (0–14in) fell from the roof, killing the victim and leaving the continuous miner operator with non-fatal injuries.
MSHA recommended some best practices to adopt to avoid similar incidents:
- Conduct a thorough visual examination of the roof, face and ribs immediately before and after work is performed;
- Be alert to any change in roof conditions;
- Identify and remove loose roof material from a safe position; and
- Mine personnel not essential to the activity being carried out should remain outside the work zone.