Coal miner dies in fall in West Virginia; Third Miner Death This Year in U.S.

A coal miner working in Marshall County was killed on Friday when he reportedly while working above a beltline at the prep plant of Ohio County Coal Company’s Ohio County Mine located in Marshall County, in the northern panhandle of the state.

According to reports, Jeffrey A. Phillips, 44, fell while working above a beltline at a prep plant, and is the third reported death of a miner in 2022.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, who is currently recovering from COVID 19, and First Lady Cathy Justice issued the following statement today after learning of the death of a coal miner in Marshall County. Jeffrey A. Phillips, 44, a worker for contractor NextGen Industrial Services, was fatally injured Friday morning when he fell while working above a beltline in the prep plant of the Ohio County Coal Company’s Ohio County Mine, located in Marshall County.

“Any time we lose one of our brave and important West Virginia coal miners, it’s a terrible thing. Cathy and I are heartbroken for his loved ones and fellow miners. We ask that all West Virginians join us in keeping this man and his family in your prayers during this difficult time.

“We’d also ask you to remember and appreciate everyone who does this important work. We should never take for granted the strength and selflessness that it takes to go underground to keep the lights on for the people across our state and our nation.”

According to reports, Benwood Police Chief Frank Longwell said his department received a call at 11:30 on Friday morning in regard to the accident.

According to Longwell, Phillips was not wearing a body harness and fell about 30 feet. The mine was reportedly down for maintenance and was not operating at the time.

The mine is operated by American Consolidated Natural Resources Holdings Inc. of St. Clairsville, Ohio. The company is the largest privately owned U.S. coal operator. It emerged from federal bankruptcy protection in 2020 and was formerly known as Murray Energy Holdings.

Other 2022 mining fatalities, according to Mine Safety and Health Administration, include Fayette County, Pennsylvania, miner, 49-year-old David Hayden, was killed when around 3 p.m. the roof collapsed on him and the loader he was running. Brian Rodriguez, 35, was killed at the Oaktown Mine in Knox County, Indiana. Both incidents occurred on Jan. 7 and are still under investigation.

According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), 37 miners were killed last year and 29 miners in 2020.

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