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MSHA investigation finds operator failed to adequately task train miner who died

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MSHA investigation finds operator failed to adequately task train miner who died

An accident that led to the death of a miner who struck his head on metal beams on a mine roof occurred because the operator failed to adequately task train the victim, according to a federal report.

Luches Rosser, 44, died May 18 from striking his head on roof beams while attempting to put the trolley pole back on the trolley wire at Pinnacle Mining Co. LLC's Pinnacle Mine in Wyoming County, W.Va. Pinnacle is a subsidiary of ERP Compliant Fuels, itself a subsidiary of Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund Inc.

A recent report released by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration found that Rosser had received no training to operate the train. "This violation is an unwarrantable failure to comply with a mandatory standard," the report said.

It said the operator has since trained all miners operating locomotives and other track-mounted electric equipment and included specific instructions that the vehicle must come to a stop and the parking brake set before placing the trolley pole back on the wire.

Rosser began working at the mine in March.

MSHA initiated a compliance initiative in June aimed at inexperienced miners after seven miners with one year or less experience at their mines were killed in 2017.

Pinnacle was fined $10,000 for the coal miner's death, as the change in overhead clearance had no warning light, reflective sign or tape. Another Virginia conservation Legacy Fund mine worker died in an Alabama operation in June.

Fourteen miners have died so far at active mines in 2017, and another died at an abandoned mine site.