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MSHA issues citation in McElroy Mine death

U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration photo A wire rope came loose last October at a CONSOL Energy mine, killing a worker.

Federal investigators have cited a former CONSOL Energy subsidiary in the October 2013 death of a coal miner at the McElroy Mine in Marshall County, according to a report made public Monday.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration cited McElroy Coal Co., the subsidiary that operates the huge underground operation.

MSHA investigators concluded that the mine operator did not ensure that all employees were positioned safely during the process of setting up a longwall mining machine in a new area of the operation.

On Oct. 4, 2013, Roger R. King was killed when he was hit in the head when a conveyor chain broke during the final stages of that longwall machine move. King, 62, of Moundsville, was a senior longwall maintenance coordinator and had worked for CONSOL since 1969, the last 17 years at the McElroy operation.

During the longwall move, a battery-powered scoop vehicle was being used with a hook and wire rope to pull the conveyor chain across the longwall face. The chain became fouled, putting tension on the wire rope. King moved into the area along the mining face, and when the scoop brakes were released, the wire rope came loose. A heavy roller and hook that were attacked to the rope were propelled about 23 feet, striking King in the back of the head, according to the MSHA report.

A coworker found no vital signs and tried to resuscitate King, who was then transported to Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Glen Dale, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, the MSHA report said.

In its report, MSHA concluded that, “the mine operator did not ensure that safe work policies and procedures were in place to assure persons are located at a safe distance away from ropes when tension is applied, and to assure that persons are trained in these procedures.”

The death occurred when the McElroy operation was still owned and operated by CONSOL Energy. Two months after the incident, the mine was purchased from CONSOL by Murray Energy.

Reach Ken Ward Jr. at or 304-348-1702.

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