Pike County, KY – Coal mining’s first death of 2017 occurred late last week after a conveyor belt attendant who was shoveling up loose coal near the beltline, came in contact with a moving roller and got tangled in the equipment.
Ray Hatfield Jr., 43, of Hi Hat in Floyd County, was a conveyor belt attendant with 23 years’ experience, according to a news release from the state Energy and Environment Cabinet.
Pike County Coroner Russell Roberts said he went into the mine and pronounced Hatfield dead at 5:15 p.m. The MSHA report said he died several hours earlier. There were no witnesses to the accident.
Federal records indicate that the mine is small, reporting 14,636 tons of coal production last year. The mine has nine employees, according to MSHA.
There were two coal mine fatalities in Kentucky in 2016, one in Webster County and one in Harlan County. That equaled the state’s record low.