Friday, August 10, 2007

Triple Fatality Reported in Indiana

As sometimes happens with long drill holes, it appears the drilling effort to reach the Crandall Canyon miners went into the wrong area, and another hole had to be started. If all goes will, it should reach the correct area today, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Meanwhile, AP reported that three miners died in Indiana this morning during a shaft-sinking operation. Early reports were that the accident involved a lift bucket in the shaft. I spoke to Tulsa, Okla., based Alliance Resource Partners, L.P., which confirmed that the accident was at their Gibson County Coal, LLP, complex. The miners involved worked for Frontier-Kemper Constructors, Inc., which is a specialist mine construction firm based in Evansville, Inc. Alliance referred me to Frontier-Kemper for details. Frontier-Kemper said it was sending out a news release, which I haven't yet seen.

Sinking of mine shafts can be very hazardous. In January 2003, a methane explosion killed three miners who were sinking a shaft for the McElroy Mine in northern West Virginia. During the past year, in my day job for Mine Safety and Health News, I've written accounts of several serious nonfatal incidents involving the use of lifting platforms and buckets in shaft sinking. I have wondered if there was an increase in shaft sinking activity in the industry, or some other factor involved.

MSHA's usual practice at least since McElroy has been to hold the independent contractor in a shaft sinking operation responsible for safety as long as the new shaft isn't connected to the mine. Regarding independent contractors at mines generally, MSHA can hold the mine operator and/or contractor responsible based on their specific activities and degree of control over safety and health conditions.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's good to have web sites like yours to keep us informed. MSHA has put two sentences on its web site about the Indiana mine disaster, but has not updated the numbers or posted a "Fatalgram" for these or other recent fatalities.

4:28 PM  

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