Miner’s Death Brings Federal Scrutiny

Thursday, May 1, 2014 @ 04:05 PM gHale


A former CONSOL Energy subsidiary ended up cited in the October death of a coal miner at the McElroy Mine in Marshall County, WV, according to a report.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) cited McElroy Coal Co., the subsidiary that operates the huge underground operation.

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The mine operator did not ensure all employees were safely in position during the process of setting up a longwall mining machine in a new area of the operation, MSHA investigators found.

Roger R. King died Oct. 4 when he ended up hit in the head when a conveyor chain broke during the final stages of that longwall machine move. King, 62, of Moundsville, WV, was a senior longwall maintenance coordinator and had worked for CONSOL since 1969, the last 17 years at the McElroy operation.

During the longwall move, a battery-powered scoop vehicle was in use with a hook and wire rope to pull the conveyor chain across the longwall face. The chain had issues, putting tension on the wire rope. King moved into the area along the mining face, and when the scoop brakes released, the wire rope came loose. A heavy roller and hook attached to the rope jumped 23 feet, striking King in the back of the head, according to the MSHA report.

A coworker found no vital signs and tried to resuscitate King, who ended up transported to Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Glen Dale, where he was dead on arrival, the MSHA report said.

“The mine operator did not ensure that safe work policies and procedures were in place to assure persons are located at a safe distance away from ropes when tension is applied, and to assure that persons are trained in these procedures,” the MSHA said in its report.

The death occurred when CONSOL Energy owned and operated the McElroy operation. Two months after the incident Murray Energy purchased the mine from CONSOL.



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