Virginia Coal Miner Killed by Falling Rock Photo: Mine Safety and Health Administration

Virginia Coal Miner Killed by Falling Rock

The death marks the fourth fatality in the coal mining industry this year.

A 34-year-old section foreman was killed March 16 in Paramont Coal Company Virginia LLC’s Deep Mine 41 near McClure, Va.

The foreman, David Brummitte of Pound, Va., who had 10 years of experience, was pinned against the side of a shuttle car after a coal/rock rib fell on him in the mine operated by Alpha Natural Resources affiliate Paramont.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with David's family. Words cannot express how deeply saddened our company and community are by this tragic event,” Alpha Chairman and CEO Kevin Crutchfield said.

Brummitte’s death marks the fourth fatality in the coal mining industry this year and the second caused by falling face, rib or highwall. At this time last year, there were two fatalities in the industry and none caused by falling objects.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration recommends the following safety best practices for coal miners:

  • Be aware of potential hazards at all times when working or traveling near ribs.
  • Avoid areas of close clearance between ribs and equipment.
  • Know and follow the approved roof control plan and provide additional support when cracks or other abnormalities are detected.  Remember, the approved roof control plan contains minimum requirements.
  • Install rib bolts on cycle and in a consistent pattern for the best protection against rib falls.
  • Train all miners to conduct thorough examinations of the roof, face, and ribs where persons will be working and traveling.  Correct all hazardous conditions before allowing persons to work or travel in such areas.
  • Be alert for changing conditions.  Report abnormal roof or rib conditions to mine management.
  • Adequately support or scale any loose roof or rib material from a safe location.   Use a bar of suitable length and design when scaling.
  • Danger off hazardous areas until appropriate corrective measures can be taken.
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