Second miner killed at Affinity

ANOTHER miner has been killed at Pocahontas Coal’s Affinity complex in Raleigh County, West Virginia – the second in a fortnight and the nation’s sixth coal death in less than a month.
Second miner killed at Affinity Second miner killed at Affinity Second miner killed at Affinity Second miner killed at Affinity Second miner killed at Affinity


Donna Schmidt

West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training spokeswoman Leslie Fitzwater told ILN Thursday that shuttlecar operator John Myles, 44, of Hilltop, was killed after being hit by a scoop as he was shoveling coal ribs about 8pm Tuesday night.

He was unconscious when he was transported to Raleigh County General Hospital in Beckley, where he later died.

Myles had four years’ experience as a miner and had worked at Affinity for 14 months prior to the incident.

Affinity, which is owned by Russian operator Metinvest BV, employs 214 workers. It has received 61 federal enforcement actions from the US Mine Safety and Health Administration so far in 2013; all are still unassessed.

Edward Finney was killed at the same mine on February 7 in another equipment-related incident.

The utility man was in the deck of a scoop as two miners were unloading trash from the metal scoop bucket insert onto the hoist for removal from the mine, Fitzwater said at the time.

The scoop bucket was positioned over the hoist deck and the hoist suddenly elevated, causing the scoop to lift up, and the two miners who were unloading the trash were able to run to safety.

“As the hoist elevated, the scoop slipped away from the hoist deck, causing it crash onto the mine floor,” MSHA said in its preliminary findings.

“During the accident, the scoop operator cleared the operator's deck and was found with fatal crushing injuries beneath the scoop.”

Finney had 13 years of mining experience and had worked at the mine for 30 weeks.

Just one day before Finney’s death, 34-year-old Brandon Townsend was killed and another worker received injuries after a hydraulic jack exploded at Patriot Coal's Midland Trail Energy Blue Creek preparation facility near Cabin Creek.

West Virginia leads the 2013 death count with four fatalities, while Illinois and Kentucky each have one.