MSHA released its preliminary report on August 5, 2022 regarding a fatal mine accident that occurred in August of 2021. Timothy Collins, a 53-year-old contract truck driver with over 10 years of experience, was fatally injured while conducting a pre-operational examination of a vehicle. According to the investigation, Mr. Collins was killed when a dump truck he was inspecting suddenly rolled over him. The parking brake failed and the truck was parked on a grade.
The conclusion of the investigators was that “the fatal accident occurred at this operation on August 11, 2021, when the C/O #34, 2008 International Paystar Dump Truck unexpectedly started moving. The truck was parked on a grade without the wheels being blocked or wheels turned into a bank or berm. The contractor engaged in aggravated conduct constituting more than ordinary negligence in that the HWM supervisor instructed the truck driver to park the loaded truck on a grade and to turn the wheels uphill. Turning the wheels uphill does not meet the requirement of this standard. No berm or bank was present in the area and the contractor did not provide chocks or other blocking devices. This violation is an unwarrantable failure to comply with a mandatory standard.”
Furthermore, “the truck was not maintained in a safe operating condition. The braking system failed to restrain the truck on a grade allowing the truck to roll. The following deficiencies were identified: An excessive amount of water was drained from the air tanks. One brake assembly was beyond the adjustment limit (2.25 inches). Irregular movement of the brake chamber and stroke on both brake assemblies on the forward tandem axle was observed when the service brakes were released. The brake shoes were not in full contact with the drum with the parking brake set. The driver’s side rear drive axle brake pads were loose, allowing movement of the shoes when the brakes were not applied, and they protruded out of the drum 1/2- inch. The passenger’s side rear drive axle bottom brake pads appear frozen in place during service brake application.”
Most coal mining accidents, injuries, and deaths are avoidable. Coal mine owners and operators are responsible for maintaining safe workspaces. They must obey strict state and federal safety regulations in terms of employee training, facility safety, and equipment maintenance. Most accidents occur when these regulations are violated or ignored.
Due to the contracting trucking company’s negligence and failure to follow regulations, Mr. Timothy Collins suffered a horrible and wrongful death.
Jeffery Robinette was admitted to practice law in 1991 and is licensed in all levels of state and federal trial courts in West Virginia. Mr. Robinette is also licensed in all state and federal appeals courts in West Virginia and the United States Supreme Court. As a National Board Certified Trial Attorney who has handled hundreds of motor vehicle, injury, and construction defect claims and a leading author on insurance claims settlement issues and difficulties in West Virginia, Jeff Robinette is uniquely qualified to represent your best interest.