Mining company, Three D’s Mining Ltd has been fined £100,000 for safety breaches after an employee suffered crushing injuries when a roof collapsed at a coal face in South Wales.
On 15 November 2017, two workers were preparing the roof for the erection of supports using a pneumatic chisel when 0.6 tonne of stone fell from the roof and hit one of the workers on his back.
He suffered significant crush injuries, large pelvic haematoma and three spinal fractures.
HSE, investigating, found that the company had not carried out an assessment of the strength of the timber, which measured just 24mm thick. Industry standard are half rounds or split bars at 65mm thick.
Three D’s Mining Ltd of Dan-y-Graig No 4 Colliery in Neath were found guilty of breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. Also, Regulation 3 (1) of the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999.
The £100,000 fine is payable over four years and costs were not awarded as the company is entering administration.
Investigating HSE Principal inspector Adrian Taylor said: “Small coal operators should follow industry guidance on the use of support material on small coal faces. Any changes should be fully assessed to check suitability.
“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
The UK’s last deep coal mine shut down in December 2015. But there are a number of small, shallow underground coal mines, including Dan-y-Graig No4 mine, which produce coal for domestic and industrial consumers – such as cement works.
The inspector has also explained: "All deep, shaft accessed coal mines closed before 2017 as a result of Government policy. However to satisfy the current electricity demand a couple of coal-fired power station continue to operate, fuelled by imported coal."
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