Fatal WV Mining Accident Trucking Contractor’s Fault Says MSHA
On August 11, 2021, Timothy “Timbo” Collins was killed at Carter Roag Coal Company’s Star Bridge Preparation Plant when a haul truck crushed him during an inspection of his truck. Mr. Collins was a 53-year-old man from Mill Creek, WV, with 10 years of truck driving experience. He left behind a wife and two children.
A subsidiary of United Coal Company owned and operated the plant. However, the truck that crushed Mr. Collins was owned by a Buckhannon-based business, HWM Truck Lines, Inc. HWM was the contractor hauling coal on the property.
The truck was parked the day prior on an incline, and while Mr. Collins was outside with a flashlight inspecting it, the truck rolled forward over him. Attempts to save his life by using a defibrillator and CPR were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead around 6:00 a.m.
Trucking Safety Rule Violations
After an investigation into the fatal coal mining accident, The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) found that the trucking contractor, HWM Truck Lines, Inc., broke several safety rules. MSHA found that HWM failed to maintain the truck’s braking system. MSHA further found that when it comes to preventing unintended motion of trucks parked on a grade, HWM failed to ensure that truck drivers stopped the involuntary movement of trucks parked on an incline. Unfortunately, the truck was also overloaded by more than 20 tons. The truck only had a 41.4-ton gross vehicle weight rating.
Since it was determined that there were tire tracks in the mud, MSHA concluded that the truck was moving and not sliding, thus evidencing that the parking brake wasn’t correctly working. The report indicated that truck drivers were trained by HWM on the setting brakes and proper wheel placement when the trucks were unattended.
Following this fatal work accident, HWM enacted new written procedures regarding daily brake examinations and daily testing. Carter Roag also passed new written procedures requiring any truck parked on a grade to turn the truck’s wheels into a bank.
At West Law Firm, our thoughts and prayer go out to Mr. Collins and his family.
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