2022 kicks off with rash of worker deaths

The new year in mining has already had its share of hazards, with four miner deaths in the U.S. in the first 14 days of 2022.

The first worker died January 7 at the Sunrise Coal Oaktown Fuels Mine No. 1 in Knox County, Ky., owned by Hallador Energy.

The victim, a 35-year-old continuous miner machine operator with nine years of mining experience, was pinned between the continuous mining machine and a coal rib. He had worked at the mine for four years.

MSHA has classified the incident as a “Machinery” death.

In the second event, which also occurred on Jan. 7, a 49-year-old miner was killed at Arcosa’s Laurel Aggregates of Delaware 1366 Laurel complex in Fayette County, Pa.

During the afternoon shift, the 15-year mining veteran was killed when a large portion of the roof collapsed on the front-end loader he was operating.

He had been working as a loader operator at the Arcosa mine for his entire career, and as an operator for over eight years. MSHA classified the incident as a “Fall of Roof or Back” fatality.

The third worker death was recorded Jan. 11 in Colmar, Bell County, Ky., at the Hamilton & Nally Enterprises surface mine, reportedly when a tree from the highwall top fell on the pickup truck the victim and a co-worker were riding in.

A preliminary report was still pending from MSHA at press time. It has, however, classified the death as “Falling, Rolling, or Sliding Rock or Material of Any Kind.”

Finally, just as this issue of North American Mining goes to press, MSHA has reported a fourth worker killed, this one in Marshall County, W.Va. The incident occurred at the ACNR Holdings Ohio County underground coal mine. 

A preliminary report is still pending from the agency, which has classified the fatality as “Slip or Fall of Person.” Local reports indicated the victim, a contract worker, fell 30 feet in the mine’s prep plant.

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