PA miner dies in rock fall

ONE Pennsylvania worker was killed on Tuesday evening after a roof fall at Consol Energy’s Bailey mine in Greene County.

Donna Schmidt

Robert Maust, 54, was the only victim in a roof fall at the longwall mine’s 4 West section, currently under development, at about 11pm on Tuesday evening, local time.

According to US Mine Safety and Health Administration spokesperson Amy Louviere, the number 2 entry of 4 West had progressed to about 20 feet inby the left crosscut.

“Preliminary reports from the accident team indicate that the victim, a roof bolter on a full face continuous mining machine, was struck by a rock measuring 3 feet by 4 feet by 8 inches that fell from the roof of the inby corner of the No. 2 entry and the crosscut from No. 2 entry to No. 1 entry,” she confirmed.

“The team has not been able to ascertain the tasks the victim was performing at the time of the accident but it is believed that it involved setting or repositioning roof jacks.”

Investigations into the accident have started, and federal officials were onsite as of Wednesday afternoon.

While a 103(k) order to idle the mine was issued after the incident, Consol Energy spokesperson Joe Cerenzia told ILN that mining would restart on Wednesday evening with the midnight shift.

No additional factors, such as ventilation or entrapment issues, were encountered.

Maust, who was struck in the torso by the falling roof rock, was airlifted from the scene but pronounced dead at 12.17am on Wednesday.

The operator noted that no other miners were injured.

“Our condolences and sympathies go out to Mr Maust’s family and friends,” Cerenzia said.

According to MSHA statistics, the mine’s last fatal operator injury was recorded in 2000.

Its non-fatal days lost incident rate in 2008 was 2.09 (from 18 NFDL operator and 12 NFDL contractor injuries) versus the national average of 4.25.

Bailey was the top producer in terms of tonnage in 2008 with 9.9 million tons. It has dual panel faces and 11 entry mains.

With a total crew of 490, Bailey produces 15.5% of Consol's total underground production.

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