The victim was fatally injured on January 29, 2006 when a bounce/outburst occurred on the active longwall face.
The tailgate shearer operator was located at the No. 11 shield waiting for the headgate to cut out when the outburst occurred.
Coal from the face was ejected into the longwall walkway, striking the victim and causing crushing injuries.
The victim was positioned behind a hanging conveyor belt guard and a metal guard that was attached to the outside of the cable handling and support system.
The overburden in the area of the accident was approximately 2700ft thick.
MSHA issued the following best practices:
When appropriate, use personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk and/or severity of injury;
Ensure that all machinery guards and other safety devices are adequate, properly installed, and well maintained before work commences; and
Shearer operators should position themselves behind the sloughage plate, elevated cutter drums, or lump breaker on the shearer when coal is being cut.
In another fatality on January 23, 2006, a 72-year-old contractor truck driver was fatally injured on the surface of Sassy Coal’s No. 4 underground mine.
The loaded truck was travelling down grade from the mine stockpile when the driver either fell or jumped from the truck and was run over by the rear tandem wheels.
MSHA issued the following best practices over the accident:
Maintain equipment braking systems in good repair and adjustment;
Trucks should be loaded within the safe operating range based on the load rating of the truck, the road grade, weather conditions, and any other pertinent factors;
Use seat belts when operating equipment; and
Conduct pre-operational checks for defects affecting safety and report defects to management prior to placing equipment in service. Checks should include the function of door latches and window cranks, adjustments of mirrors and cleaning of window glass.