Lack of safety measures played part in mining death of pastor

Ineffective safety policies played a part in the death of Second Baptist Church Associate Pastor Jeff Slone, according to a report released Monday by the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Slone was killed on Jan. 14 when a shuttle car struck him at the Tennco Energy Inc. Toms Fork Mine in Bell County, Kentucky. The mine is owned by Nally and Hamilton. Slone was a surveyor at the mine and was 600 feet underground when it happened.

He began his shift at 5 a.m. and was struck at 11:20 a.m.

The shuttle car had a headlight that was out on the side where Slone was struck, according to the report. He was taking measurements of the mining height when it happened.

“The accident occurred because the mine operator did not have effective policies, procedures, and controls to protect miners who are on foot from being contacted by moving mobile surface equipment,” the report read.

Production at that mine had only just started in December 2018. The accident occurred when a person driving a shuttle car left his vehicle to check on an electrical cable attached to the mine roof.

The man repaired the cable, and when he turned around to get back in the shuttle car, he saw that it had run over Slone. The report states the shuttle car operator’s field of vision “was greatly reduced due to the size/height of the shuttle car and the low mining height,” according to the report.

Changes made since the accident include requiring everyone entering the mine to wear a LED light on the back of their hard hats, and better communication of who will be working where.

If the survey crew is in the belt area, which is what Slone was doing, all mining activities must stop.