The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration just issued its report on the April death of coal miners John King at International Coal Group’s Beckley Pocahontas Mine in Raleigh County, W.Va.
MSHA investigators described the fatal accident this way:
On Thursday, April 22, 2010, at approximately 11:15 p.m., a 28-year old continuous miner operator was operating a continuous mining machine. He sustained fatal injuries when he was crushed between the machine’s conveyor boom and the coal rib. The victim was attempting to move the off standard continuous mining machine from the No. 6 Left coal face to the No. 8 Right coal face. As the mining machine was trammed, with the boom fully swung to the operator’s side, the machine contacted the right coal rib with the cutter head and the boom contacted the victim positioned on the left rib, crushing his pelvic area.
And they concluded that there were two root causes:
The victim was positioned in the Red Zone, an area of close clearance, while the continuous miner was being operated.
The operator failed to have an effective policy in place to identify Red Zone hazards and to alert mine management when Red Zone violations are committed or observed by others.
MSHA issued one citation:
A 104(a) Citation, No. 8102631, was issued to Beckley Pocahontas Mine, ICG Beckley, LLC, for a violation of 30 CFR § 75.220(a)(1). The mine operator failed to comply with the approved roof control plan for the 004 MMU #2 Section, Page #6, Item 11. The continuous miner operator was along side of the continuous mining machine, Serial Number JM5993, while changing places from #6 Left face to #8 Right face, resulting in the operator receiving fatal injuries.
Updated, with this comment from ICG Vice president Roger Nicholson:
We remain saddened by the tragic accident at ICG Beckley’s underground mine which took John King’s life in April of this year. ICG Beckley has always trained its miners on red zone hazards regularly and thoroughly, but it increased training concerning red zone hazards after this accident. ICG Beckley does not believe that it should have been cited in this accident and intends to contest the citation.