Contractor injured at Kentucky operation

FEDERAL and state officials have confirmed that a 22-year-old contract miner received multiple injuries and is still hospitalized after being crushed in the mechanism of a coal sampling unit on a surface conveyor belt.
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Donna Schmidt

US Mine Safety and Health Administration spokesperson Amy Louviere told ILN Wednesday afternoon that the worker, whose name has not been released, was working at the Stillhouse Mining complex in Harlan County and was injured while trying to free a rock from the coal sampling unit.

“The belt had been de-energized and locked and tagged out; however, the coal sampling unit received power from another source that was not de-energized,” she said.

“The contractor, assuming the sampling unit was de-energized, entered the coal sampling unit to attempt to free the rock, when the swing gate inside the sampling unit activated and crushed the victim between the gate and the frame of the sampling unit. “

The victim, who works for J Harold Contracting, underwent surgery Tuesday at Holston Valley Hospital in Tennessee and had a pin installed for his broken femur.

A collapsed lung was also reinflated, Louviere and state agency spokesperson Linda Potter confirmed.

“He…is still in the hospital,” Potter added late Wednesday.

“The company and Office of Mine Safety and Licensing are in the process of changing the configuration of the belt sampler so that it will stop when the conveyor belt is de-energized.”

A federal investigation has also commenced.

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