The coal mine fatality, the first one this year, occurred on Saturday, January 6 when the man was fatally injured while attempting to load a bundle of wire mesh onto a scoop.
Four bundles of wire mesh weighing approximately 6000 pounds connected by metal straps were stacked against the rib in an upright position. The utilityman was positioned between a scoop and the bundles of wire mesh.
While cutting the metal straps, the wire mesh fell over, pinning him against the scoop.
The victim had approximately two years of mining experience and 14 weeks of experience at this mine and this activity.
MSHA issued the following best practices:
Ensure that materials are safely stored and properly handled.
Before performing a materials handling job, consider all possible hazards and devise methods to safely complete the task. Utilise the SLAM risk program when performing duties involving large objects, massive weights or the release of stored energy.
Ensure that there is adequate space to work.
When possible, open banded materials while they are resting in a horizontal position.
Never work in the fall path of objects/materials of massive weights having the potential of becoming off-balanced while in the upright position.
When working with or on extremely heavy objects/materials placed in an upright position, use a positive means to prevent objects/materials from falling, or moving.