Evaluate surroundings when using ATRS: Report

THE death of a worker at a Virginia operation involving automated temporary roof supports has prompted the US Mine Safety and Health Administration to release a fatalgram on the incident, including best practices for other US mines.
Evaluate surroundings when using ATRS: Report Evaluate surroundings when using ATRS: Report Evaluate surroundings when using ATRS: Report Evaluate surroundings when using ATRS: Report Evaluate surroundings when using ATRS: Report

Courtesy MSHA

Donna Schmidt

Roof bolter operator Eldon Todd Meadows, 44, was working at Consol Energy’s Buchanan mine marking roof bolt locations and, while apparently standing between the drill station and the installed ATRS, was knocked into the roof bolting unit by a large piece of fallen roof rock.

The rock measured 55 inches long by 50in wide and was 4–6in in width.

Meadows had 20 years of mining experience.

In hopes of preventing similar incidents going forward at US operations, MSHA recommended the following best practices:

  • When possible, stay under the roof bolter canopy when working in the area between the ATRS and the last row of permanent roof support;
  • Incorporate proper use of roof bolter canopy extensions if provided;
  • Examine the roof, face and ribs, including sound and vibrations tests, during pre-shift examinations, immediately before any work is started, and periodically as conditions warrant; and
  • Scale any loose or hazardous roof material using proper equipment and work from a safe location.

The agency has also encouraged industry suggestions for other remedies to prevent this type of accident going forward. When submitting suggestions, it asks for the year of the fatality as well as the number.

The worker’s death was the 18th recorded during 2008 in coal (the 17th and 18th were both recorded on July 25, the other incident involving a worker at Century Operations’ Butcher Branch mine in Kentucky who was initially injured July 17).

Meadows’ fatality was the fourth to be classified by MSHA under Fall of Roof this year.

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