Gallup Independent Peabody mine worker killed in Kayenta

Peabody mine worker killed in Kayenta

By Kathy Helms
Dine Bureau
Gallup Independent

WINDOW ROCK – A Peabody Western Coal Co. employee was killed Friday during a collision at the Kayenta Mine.

Roy Black of the Longhouse Valley area west of Kayenta, an employee of the Kayenta Mine, was fatally injured as the result of an accident between a service truck and a piece of road maintenance equipment, according to Peabody.

The mine was immediately shut down for a full investigation, and the appropriate tribal, state and federal officials were contacted. The incident is under investigation by mine officials and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Health and Safety Administration.

“We mourn the loss of a fellow employee, and we express our deepest sympathies to family members and friends,” Peabody stated in a press release.

Local sources said the accident occurred around 2 p.m., in the J-21 area when a scraper truck collided with a greaser truck driven by Black.

The death occurred one day after MSHA issued a fatality alert to the mining community profiling the causes of and circumstances surrounding the 71 fatal accidents that occurred last year.

Among those, four surface coal mine truck drivers were killed in haulage accidents when they lost control of their trucks and either struck another truck, turned over the truck, or the truck went through a berm and over a highwall. Another six coal miners were killed working in close proximity to mining or haulage equipment.

“2010 will be remembered for the dramatic explosion that killed 29 men at the Upper Big Branch Mine and for the deaths of 42 other miners across the nation whose lives ended in needless tragedy,” Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of Labor for MSHA, said. “We can – and must – honor all of these miners by increasing our efforts to ensure safe and healthy workplaces for our nation’s miners.”

Of the 71 deaths in 2010, 48 occurred in coal mines, 23 occurred at metal and nonmetal operations, and nearly half of those victims were contractors. Excluding the 29 miners who died last April at Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia, preliminary information indicates that more than half of the remaining 42 deaths involved violations of MSHA’s “Rules to Live By” standards, and represent the same causes of deaths that have occurred frequently over the last 10 years.

“We must all learn from these tragedies and act to prevent additional fatalities,” Main said. “Fatalities are not inevitable. They can be prevented using effective safety and health management programs, workplace examinations for hazards, and effective and appropriate training so that miners recognize and understand the hazards, and how to control or eliminate them.”


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