Miner killed in roof fall

A 28-year-old mobile bridge operator was fatally injured on July 12 in a roof fall incident at Sunrise Coal’s Newco No. 1 room and pillar mine in Alabama.

Angie Tomlinson

The roof fall was a horseback (drag fold) that failed for a distance of approximately 75ft from the last open crosscut to the face of the No. 4 entry.

The victim, who had 13-months total mining experience, was operating the No. 3 mobile bridge carrier, located in a previously supported intersection, when the fall occurred.

The US Mine Safety and Health Administration have issued a number of best practices for operators to follow to stop similar tragedies:

Know and follow the approved roof control plan.

Make frequent roof examinations and be alert to changing conditions at all times.

Install additional roof support when adverse conditions are encountered or anticipated.

Install and examine test holes regularly for changes in roof strata.

Train all miners on the importance of roof examinations.

Map all known geologic structures and anomalies to determine orientation as a means to predict when and where they will be encountered during mining.