According to federal data, two miners have been killed and another 10 have received injuries over the last two years while working in the longwall face conveyor area.
“Coal and rock falls can occur in this area because heavy pressures from the mining of the coal and caving of the roof can make the coal face and roof in front of the shield canopies highly unstable,” the agency said.
As a result of the series of incidents reported, a collection of best practices for mines to help prevent future events has been compiled, including the use of effective policies, programs, procedures and controls for miner protection while working in or in front of the face conveyor.
Also, in addition to never working under an unsupported roof, MSHA is urging operations to control the longwall coal before any work begins and, when possible, work from the walkway side of the face conveyor to perform maintenance or remove material from under the conveyor.
Finally, in addition to adequate training on work practices before working in the face conveyor area or inby the shield canopies, federal officials have asked mines to make frequent examinations and be alert to changing conditions of the roof, rib and face.
A full version of the alert can be found at www.msha.gov.