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Mine Disasters in the United States

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J and T Coal, Inc.
No. 1 Mine Roof Fall

St. Charles, Lee County, Virginia
February 13, 1991
No. Killed - 4

MSHA Final Investigation Report  (2.6 Mb)  PDF Format

On February 13, 1991, coal ribs were sheared throughout the line of last open crosscuts in the 004 Section of the No. 1 Mine.  This operation was conducted to align the last open crosscut and to prepare for the installation of a belt conveyor and mine track.

At approximately 4:30 p.m. as the night crew was beginning their shift, a massive roof fall occurred in the line of the last open crosscuts between the No. 1 and 3 entries.  Four miners - two from the day shift and two from the evening shift - were fatally injured in the roof fall.  Ten other miners present in the section escaped injury.

MSHA investigators determined that the shearing of ribs - which had involved the supervision and even the participation of management - had created entry widths that ranged from 28 to 35 feet.  Despite the resulting substantial reductions in pillar size and support, additional supports besides the usual roof bolts were not installed in sheared areas.  MSHA attributed the roof fall to the resulting inadequacies in roof support.

Contributing factors included:
  • management's failure to provide proper alignment and directional controls,

  • conduct an adequate preshift examination,

  • withdraw miners from the area where excessive widths were created,

  • and post danger signs to prevent miners from entering the area.
Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States - Volume II

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