A 35-year old continuous miner operator at a Consol of Kentucky operation in West Virginia, who had 16 years in mining, was killed on the job September 3 in a roof fall that originated in the non-bolted face of the No. 4 entry. The fall progressed outby, the agency said, and into the centre areas of three bolt rows.
In light of the incident's circumstances, MSHA produced the following series of best practices to aid other operations:
Know and follow the approved roof control plan which includes safety precautions;
Conduct a thorough visual examination of the roof, face, and ribs immediately before any work is performed and thereafter as often as conditions warrant;
Always be alert for changing conditions, cracks or other roof abnormalities and install additional roof support as necessary; and
Stop, Look, Analyze, Manage (SLAM) risks.
Per the agency's policy, it invites the industry to submit any other suggestions for best practices that may help prevent future such accidents through its web site using the year of the fatality and its identification number.
In the coal mining industry this year, the death marks the 18th worker lost on the job, a number which was 38 at this time in 2006. It is the third for this year that MSHA has classified as a Fall of Roof or Back fatality.