MSHA cites CONSOL unit over October 2011 coal fatality

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration issued one citation over an October 2011 fatality at CONSOL Energy’s (NYSE: CNX) Shoemaker longwall mine in Marshall County, W.Va., said a final agency accident report issued April 11.

On Oct. 17, 2011, Charles McIntire was killed after being struck by a track-mounted ditch digging machine, powered by a direct current electric trolley. McIntire exited the mine on the ditch digging machine and stopped at a break on the surface in the trolley wire, MSHA noted. The accident location was referred to as the “jump area.” McIntire dismounted the machine with the forward tram controls set for high-speed and did not set the park brake. He then obtained a fused nip, located along the track at the outby end of the jump area, placing one end of the nip on the energized trolley wire. McIntire placed the other end of the nip on the machine’s trolley pole, causing the machine to move forward suddenly, running him over.

The citation was issued, based on existing Safeguard No. 7128881 at the mine, for failure to provide two separate and independent braking systems on all track-mounted haulage equipment. Also, a new Safeguard Notice was issued to, among other things, require that mine operator Consolidation Coal install and maintain an electrical interlock circuit or self centering tram controls to prevent automatic or sudden movement of self propelled, track-mounted equipment used at Shoemaker.

Shoemaker is one of several longwall mines in the Pittsburgh No. 8 coal seam that CONSOL has in northern West Virginia and southwest Pennsylvania. The mine accesses the Pittsburgh No. 8 coal seam by three portals and two slopes: Golden Ridge Portal, Whittaker Portal, the River Portal and slope, and the Dupont slope. Coal is mined from the 76-inch thick seam by three continuous miner sections and one longwall section, MSHA noted. The average production is about 20,000 tons per day.

A regular Safety and Health Inspection at the mine was completed by MSHA on Sept. 30, 2011. Another such inspection was ongoing at the time of the accident. The national Non-Fatal Days Lost (NFDL) incident rate in 2010 for underground mines was 3.58. The 2010 NFDL rate was 2.64 for Shoemaker.

This was fatality number 17 in the U.S. coal industry in 2011, with the year ending at 23 fatalities. So far in 2012, up until April 11, there have been six fatalities in the U.S. coal industry.

The latest U.S. coal fatality came on March 23 at Drummond Co.‘s Shoal Creek longwall mine in Alabama. An electrician at Shoal Creek was performing electrical work on the cable reel of a shuttle car when he received a fatal electrical shock, MSHA said in a preliminary accident report. The Shoal Creek mine produced 1.8 million tons in 2011, according to MSHA data.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.