Personnel carrier fatality

A 25-year old roof bolting machine operator with seven years mining experience was fatality injured last month in a battery-powered track-mounted personnel carrier incident at Raw Coal Mining Company’s Cucumber Mine in West Virginia.
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The scene of the accident.

Angie Tomlinson

The victim was operating the personnel carrier transporting six other miners when the accident occurred on Tuesday February 10, 2004. He had just entered the track portal through an open airlock door when it lost traction and began sliding down grade.

The vehicle traveled approximately 139 feet before crashing through the closed inby airlock door. After traveling an additional 186 feet, the vehicle derailed and came to a stop.

The victim received fatal injuries when struck by the door. The six passengers were uninjured.

Following the incident MSHA have issued a number of best practices:

Avoid placing doors, switches, and other installations in haulageways where significant grades exist.

Ensure that sanding devices contain adequate sand and are working properly before operating track mounted equipment.

Exercise caution when approaching grades and operate track-mounted equipment at speeds consistent with grades and track conditions. Remember, as your speed increases, your ability to stop without sliding decreases and, once you start sliding, it becomes even more difficult to stop.

Install haulageway doors such that they can be opened on the fly without the need to stop and exit the equipment.

Ensure dead-man controls fail safe and do not neutralize brakes or dynamic retarding controls.