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MSHA - Coal Mine Fatality

Mar, 14 2012

MSHA - Coal Mine Fatality.

On Sunday, February 26, 2012, at 1:15 a.m., a 52-year-old deckhand with 4 years of mining experience was determined missing. He had been assigned the task of measuring the draft of a set of empty barges that were to be loaded. He had to cross from the dock to the first empty barge. Witnesses observed him on the empty barge walking up-river on the barge. He apparently fell from the barge into the water. Co-workers saw his cap in the water and immediately called for the rescue squad. The victim was found beneath the bow of the dock at approximately 2:30 a.m. The miner was wearing a flotation device, but the flotation device was not designed to keep an unconscious miner's face above water.

Best Practices

  • Utilize electronic devices to determine the draft in barges.
  • Install and use lifeline tie-off systems to provide fall protection over water.
  • Utilize and maintain sufficient area lighting and personal lighting.
  • Set up a look out and communications protocol. Do not work alone.
  • Ensure safe access is provided where persons are required to work or travel. Watch footing and stay clear of ropes, cables, and other obstacles. Use de-icing material to clear ice from walkways. Maintain three points of contact where practicable.
  • Wear properly fitted personal flotation devices (PFD) that are designed to keep an unconscious miner's face above water.
  • Utilize wearable electronic emergency warning systems to immediately notify others of a fall into water. These devices can be equipped with water activated strobe lights and global positioning system (GPS) tracking.


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