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Kentucky Coal Mine Death Blamed On Safety Lapses

AP Photo/David Goldman

Federal regulators say an accident that killed a coal miner in Pike County happened because a conveyor belt didn't have adequate safety guards.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration said in its report that 43-year-old Ray Hatfield Jr. was killed on Jan. 26 when his clothing got tangled in bolts on a roller shaft and he was pulled into the moving equipment. He had been shoveling loose coal from under the beltline.

MSHA says the mine operator, R&C Coal LLC, also didn't have effective measures in place to ensure employees shut off the conveyor belt before working close to it.

Regulators cited R&C for several violations, including having inadequate guards around the beltline. Furthermore, MSHA says the mine operator failed to conduct proper safety checks.

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