More Tragedy

Almost unbearable.

One miner was killed and another remained unaccounted for in a roof collapse that occurred at about 10:40 p.m. last night in Alliance Resource Partners’ Webster County Coal, LLC, Dotiki Mine, Hopkins County, Ky., MSHA has reported.

Rescue personnel found one of the miners dead at 8:35 this morning, according to a 1:00 p.m. website update by the federal mine agency. The other miner was described as “trapped under rock.”

“Rescue personnel entered the mine beginning around 11:30 p.m., and traveled approximately four miles by conveyance to the area” of the entrapment, MSHA said in its statement. “Rescue efforts, which include stabilizing the roof and loading out debris, had to be halted around 4:50 a.m. due to adverse roof conditions. These efforts resumed after the roof was stabilized.”

Some may not recall that the Dotiki Mine was the scene of a major fire on Feb. 11, 2004. The blaze caused no injuries, but it took several days to extinguish the fire and several weeks to restore the mine. The effort also demanded considerable resources from MSHA. The chief of MSHA at the time, Dave Lauriski, praised all parties in the effort which, he stated, saved 360 jobs.

[Update: MSHA didn’t cite any contributory violations in the 2004 fire, according to the agency data retrieval system. “The blaze started with a diesel supply tractor,” the agency stated. MSHA and company personnel later cooperated on a technical paper about the recovery effort.]

Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. (ARLP) was formerly known as MAPCO Coal. The company’s website says that as of last December it had some 3,090 employees and assets of $1.1 billion. The company stated that it sells more than 80% of its product to electric utilities under long-term contracts.

“Joseph W. Craft III has been President, Chief Executive Officer and a Director since August 1999 and has indirect majority ownership of our managing general partner,” the company website stated.

Ellen Smith of Mine Safety and Health News gave permission to post the following information, based on an update to subscribers:

The mine works three shifts with 367 employees. The mining height is 60 inches.

The mine’s NFDL rate was 3.01 last year compared to the national average of 4.03, with the mine logging 18 injuries.

The mine reported 25 roof fall incidents or “falling materials” (which may or may not involve injuries) in the last year (see list below).

It had been cited on April 13th for failing to report an accident, and failing to preserve evidence. MSHA could not offer any details at this time.

Past roof accidents included the following. Information is taken from the mine operator’s reports to MSHA:

2/16/2010 Employee was starting his first steel in the roof, when a piece of gob fell out catching his ring finger on his right hand between the piece of gob and the boom.

1/28/2010 While the bolter was moving up the employee was beside the bolter when a piece of material fell out from the rib and the corner of the roof hitting him in the lower back causing some hair line fracture’s to his vertabra.

1/8/2010 Accident Only A fall of the roof occurred on the 6th 54 belt at x-cut 128 in the South East Life of Mine Mains B.

11/19/2009 Accident Only A fall of the roof occurred in the S.E. Life of Mine Mains C at x-cut 433 in the belt entry. The fall measured 60′ in length by 20′ wide and it was 5′ to 6′ thick. There was no personell, equi pment nor ventilation affected.

11/13/2009 The employee was operating a remote controlled miner when a piece of draw rock fell out and struck him in the hand causing a laceration.

10/19/2009 Accident Only Fall A fall of the roof occurred in the S.E.L. of main A at e-cut 83 in the supply rd. The fall measured 30′ in length 15′ wide by 5′ thick. There were no personnel, equipment or ventilation affected.

9/26/2009 Employee was pinning a header hole when a small piece of sharp rock fell adn hit him on the arm causing a laceration. Employee received 2 stitches.

9/25/2009 EE was installing a catwalk at a header when a piece of rock hit him on the shoulder causing a laceration. The EE received 8 stitches. This happened at the 17th header.

9/10/2009 EE was installing roof bolt when he went to look up a piece of rock fell out and hit him in the forehead. The rock measured 4″ long X 2″ wide and 1/2″ thick. The EE received 6 stiches in his forehead.

8/19/2009 Accident Only A Fall of the roof occured on the south east life of mine mains B at x-cut 144 on the supply road. Ventilation, personnel not equipment where involved on affected.

8/12/2009 The EE was operating a roof bolter when some material fell off the canopy and struck him in the mouth, breaking his front tooth out.

8/10/2009 The employee was scaling rock on the supply road when a small piece of material came in conatct with his left arm. He received 14 staples.

8/7/2009 Employee was walking to the face when some material came in contact with his left arm. This happened on #2 unit. The employee received 6 stitches. His hard hat knocked loose material down on arm.

6/22/2009 Accident Only A fall of the roof occurred in the #5 unit in the 11th southwest mains in teh #3 entry inby, the tailpiece at X-cut #5. Length was 35′, width 22′ and thickness was 6′. Ventlation, personel nor equipment where involved or affected.

6/8/2009 The employee was bent over when a piece of material hit him in the back (middle). The employee continued to work until 8/7/09 when we sent him to see a specialist. An MRI was done on 8/13/09. We did not get the results until 8/20/09. On 8/6/09 the employee started hurting – said he couldn’t work.

5/29/2009 Accident Only A fall of the roof occurred on the 1st NE submains at x-cut # 11 on 4B supply road. Approx. 50 ft long, 18′ to 18.5′ wide and 6′ to 8′ thick. Ventilation, personnel nor equipment were involved or affected.

4/29/2009 While the employee was putting up a curtain he bent over to get another role of curtain, when he raised up, his head hit the rock knocking it loose and it came down on his back.

4/9/2009 Accident Only A fall of the roof occurred in the 1st South East Sub Mains (# 4 Unit) Inby the tailpiece in the # 1 Entry throught the x-cut to the # 2 Entry.

4/8/2009 The employee started his second steel when a rock came out of the ATRS and came in contact with the employee’s arm. The employee received 10 stiches in his upper arm.

3/9/2009 Accident Only A fall of the roof occured on the south east life of mine mains parellels at crosscut # 31 #7 Entry. Ventilation, personnell nor equipment were involved or affected.

3/9/2009 The employee was installing a pin when a rock slid off the boom of the bolter cutting the employee’s arm. The employee received 15 stitches.

1/22/2009 Accident Only A fall of roof occurred two crosscut outby the dotiki IV bottom in doors in the 6th south west sub mains. There were no equipment, ventilation nor personnel involved.


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