Better rail sanding required at Robinson Run: MSHA

THE US Mine Safety and Health Administration has ruled a June 2008 powered haulage death at Consol Energy’s Robinson Run mine was caused by rail moisture and condensation and ordered better sanding at the operation.
Better rail sanding required at Robinson Run: MSHA Better rail sanding required at Robinson Run: MSHA Better rail sanding required at Robinson Run: MSHA Better rail sanding required at Robinson Run: MSHA Better rail sanding required at Robinson Run: MSHA

Consol Energy's Robinson Run longwall.

Donna Schmidt

Motorman Garry Hoffman, 55, was working at the Marion County, West Virginia complex on June 5 when he lost control of a 20-ton locomotive and two flat cars carrying donut cribs due to the accumulated moisture.

The agency could not determine if the 30-year mining veteran fell, jumped or was knocked off the unit once he lost control.

MSHA found the cause of the death was the worker’s inability to maintain control of his locomotive while in the 3-West area of the mine. As a result, it ordered Robinson Run to apply sand to the rails between the 3-West track spur and the end of the 3-West track haulage near the 170 block prior to each trip through the area.

Consol also retrained a crew of 27 miners assigned to work in the area on the prevention method, while also conducting task training for all of the mine’s 20-ton locomotive operators. MSHA noted that the area of the mine where the fatality occurred is currently being sealed.

According to the report, the producer did not receive any contributing violations to the incident.

Last August, a state report cited Consol for one contributing violation and five non-contributory oversights in Hoffman’s death.

Mine inspector Alan Lander told the State Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety that the cause of Hoffman’s ejection from the vehicle could not be determined, but that accident evaluators found Hoffman’s hard hat was broken in two places.

Consol was cited for a contributing violation because one of the locomotive’s two sanders was plugged and unable to drop sand onto the tracks, Lander said, but did not comment on the five other non-contributing violations.

Robinson Run No. 95 extracts from the Pittsburgh 8 coal seam at a height of about 76 inches. Staffed by 341 workers, it runs one longwall panel and three continuous miner sections and produces about 7 million tons annually.

Its non-fatal days lost (NFDL) rate for the second quarter of 2008, when the incident occurred, was 0.65, versus the national rate of 4.15.

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