Meng Zhang

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Industrial and Managements Systems Engineering

Committee Chair

Vladislav Kecojevic

Committee Co-Chair

Noble Aaron

Committee Member

Christopher Bise


Trucks are the primary means of haulage in surface coal, metal, and nonmetal mining operations. The number of fatal accidents involving trucks is higher when compared to all other mining equipment. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reports that 137 fatalities were haul truck- related in the United States between 1995 and 2011. A total of 12 truck-related accidents, including 13 fatalities, were recorded in surface coal mining operations in West Virginia (WV) during this period. The objectives of this research were to (i) analyze the root causes of these accidents, and (ii) develop effective intervention strategies to eliminate these fatalities. The Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) technique was used to systematically analyze truck related fatalities. Data on truck-related injury accidents in West Virginia surface coal mines during 2012 and 2013 were also analyzed in this study. Results of the study indicate that inadequate or improper pre-operational check and poor maintenance of trucks were the two most common root causes of these accidents. A total of eight accidents occurred on haul roads, while 10 accidents occurred while the trucks were moving forward. The two most violated provisions of Code of Federal Regulations were 30 CFR§77.404 - Machinery and equipment; operation and maintenance (six times), and 30 CFR§77.1606 - Loading and haulage equipment; inspection and maintenance (five times).;A total of 223 reported injuries were recorded at West Virginia surface coal mines. With the exception of two missing data, a total of 178 accidents were equipment-related and 43 accidents occurred without equipment being involved. The equipment categories accounting for the most number of injuries were: truck (57 times) and bulldozer/dozer/crawler tractor (43 times). The majority of the truck-related injuries occurred within the worker's first five years at the mine and within the first five years at their current job title. Workers between ages 25 and 39 had the greatest percentage of injuries. Most injuries were recorded during "Section I" (6:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.), and the fall season has the greatest number of truck-related injuries of all four seasons. Regarding the nature of injury, "sprains and strains" made up about 32%, topping all other types of injuries. The most commonly injured body part in truck-related injuries was the "Multiple parts.".;A two-pronged approach to accident prevention was used: one that is fundamental and traditional (safety regulations, training and education, and engineering of the work environment); and one that is innovative and creative (e.g., applying technological advances to better control and eliminate the root causes of accidents). Suggestions for improving current training and education system were proposed, and recommendations were provided on improving the safety of mine working conditions, specifically safety conditions on haul roads, dump sites, and loading areas. Currently available technologies that can help prevent haul truck-related fatal accidents were also discussed. The results of this research may be used by mine personnel to help create safer working conditions and decrease truck-related fatalities and injuries in surface coal mining.