Federal mine-safety officials are investigating the death of a Vernal man Thursday at a Colorado coal mine.
Jason D. Stevens, 32, a surface mechanic at the Deserado mine near Rangely, Colo., was crushed while dismantling a metal structure that supplied water to a fine-coal filter at the mine’s preparation plant, according to a preliminary report from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.
The Craig Daily Press reported that Stevens was working alone and did not report in at the end of his shift. Co-workers found him beneath the two-ton filtering trough.
Stevens had worked for nearly 6 1/2 years at the mine operated by Blue Mountain Energy, Inc., a subsidiary of South Jordan-based Deseret Power Electric Cooperative.
The mine employs 161, including 101 underground miners and 48 people at the prep plant. It produced 1.2 million tons of coal in the first half of 2017, approaching the 1.3 million tons it yielded in all of 2016.
Before Thursday’s fatality, the Deserado had reported only one injury in 2017, the same number as a year before. The company has received 165 citations so far this year from federal mine inspectors, MSHA records show, and has paid $28,313 of the $50,539 in fines imposed.
Coal from the Deserado goes to the cooperative’s 550-megawatt, coal-fired Bonanza Power Plant near Vernal.
The cooperative is owned by Bridger Valley Electric Association, Dixie-Escalante Electric, Flowell Electric Association, Garkane Energy Cooperative, Moon Lake Electric Association and Mt. Wheeler Power in Ely, Nev.
Stevens is the 11th coal miner to die in a work-related accident this year, MSHA data showed.