Coal Miner is Injured by Unsafe Equipment


Coal Mine Expert WitnessThis case takes place in West Virginia and involves a man who suffered significant injuries to his hand from a roof bolter at a coalmine. The man was performing his job duties as a roof bolter for his employer . He was operating a roof bolter, which he drove to and from the locations where he was to bolt or pin the roof of the underground  mine. A canopy was attached over the operator cab of the roof bolter. A handle or hand hold was attached to the underside of the steel canopy close to the outer edge of the canopy. As the man was driving the roof bolter, he held onto the handle attached to canopy with his left hand in order to keep himself inside the operator cab of the roof bolter. While holding on to the handle, a portion of the man’s left hand extended past the outer edge of the overhead canopy. As he was backing the roof bolter around a coal pillar, the man’s left hand was severely injured when it came in contact with the corner of the pillar and was trapped between the canopy handle and the coal pillar. It is alleged that the bolter was not safe and the cockpit did not offer the man the protection needed to keep him safe. An expert witness in equipment appraisal was retained for the case.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you have knowledge of the dangers that coal miners face everyday on the job?
  • 2. What steps can be taken to keep coal miners safe while using equipment (roof bolter)?

Expert Witness Response E-011089

I am a mining safety expert and have served in some mining safety capacity for the past 40 years. My entire career has been devoteed to the coal mining environment and I am very familiar with all of the equipment used. I am very familiar with roof bolters and their intended operation, as well as how dangerous they can be and the safety protocol involved. Cockpit protection is very important and I have worked on numerous cases involving roof bolting machines. I am happy to assist on this case.

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