Roof Collapse Leads to 3rd Coal Mining Fatality in 2012

On March 3, 2012, a coal miner was killed while working at the Timber Tree #9 underground mine in Kentucky when a canopy collapsed causing him fatal injuries. At the time of the accident, the miner was attempting to install a canopy on a Joy 21 SC Shuttle Car and was seated in the operator's compartment of the shuttle car beneath the suspended canopy. The canopy, which was suspended from the mine roof by a cable and change, shifted and fell thereby striking the minor in the head and causing the fatal injuries. According to MSHA, this is the third reported fatality resulting from a coal mining accident this year.

Mine operators have a duty and responsibility to provide our miners with a workplace free of recognized and identified hazards. In order to ensure the safety and well-being of our miners, mine operators need to implement safe work practices to prevent similar accidents like this from occurring in the future. An example of best safety practices promulgated by MSHA, include:

  • Devising safe methods to complete tasks involving large objects, massive weights, or the release of stored energy.
  • Ensuring equipment is de-energized and blocked against accidental motion.
  • Ensuring that permanent roof supports are not used as a mechanism for lifting heavy objects and instead installing lifting points that are designed and manufactured to support the intended load.
  • Using only devices designed and rated for the suspension of heavy loads and not exceeding the rated capacity of hoisting, towing, or reading tools.
  • Requiring a positive means to prevent objects and materials from falling or moving while workers are working with or near heavy objects or materials suspended overhead.
  • Ensuring workers are not working in the fall path of objects or massive weights which have the potential of becoming off-balanced while suspended.
  • Properly training miners to recognize hazardous work procedures, including working in pinch points where inadvertent movement could cause injury.

Unfortunately, however, mine operators often times fail to follow best safety practices which can lead to workplace injuries or even death. For over 30 years, the West Virginia coal mining accident lawyers at Fitzsimmons Law Firm have represented miners who have been hurt or killed in coal mining accidents. We are dedicated to ensuring that every coal miner is furnished with a safe place to work when he or she reports to work each day. If you or a family member has been hurt in a coal mining accident, contact us immediately to help you get the justice and compensation to which you are entitled.


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