Worker killed in conveyor accident

A MINER at a Randolph County, West Virginia coal operation was killed in a pinning accident involving a conveyor belt and belt-storage dolly rollers, the US Mine Safety and Health Administration confirmed for International Longwall News.

Donna Schmidt

Electrician Howard Harris, 54, had 26 years of industry experience and had worked at Carter Roag Coal's Pleasant Hill Mine, a subsidiary of Virginia-based United Coal, for just two weeks.

"[The worker] was fatally injured when he came into contact with the moving low-low belt on the 1st Right panel section," the agency's preliminary report detailed, adding that he had been working with a continuous miner circuit breaker that had tripped several times throughout the shift and was gathering troubleshooting tools.

"The victim apparently fell onto the moving belt and travelled approximately 10 to 15 feet and was dragged under the mobile bridge carrier dolly which mounts onto the low-low belt," MHSA said.

After the incident at about 6.10pm local time October 20, CPR was attempted unsuccessfully. An official death pronouncement was made at a local hospital, the agency verified.

The mine, in Mill Creek, has produced just over 488,000 tons so far this year and had a non-fatal days lost (NFDL) injury incidence rate of 1. Last year, it produced 923,000t with an NFDL of 3.

So far in 2007, there have been 26 coal mining-related fatalities, six of which have occurred in West Virginia.