Tim Fugate, Chief Investigator
The primary responsibility of the accident investigation team for the Division of Mine Safety (DMS) is to investigate all serious and fatal mining accidents within the Commonwealth of Kentucky. An accident investigator must be an experienced miner with an extensive background in mine safety. Determining the cause of such accidents is crucial in achieving the desired goal of zero accidents. Our accident investigator would not be able to accomplish his mission without the assistance and dedication of our mine safety specialists.
Our goal is to ensure that all coal miners in the Commonwealth have a safe work environment and to foster safe work practices that will ensure each coal miner returns home uninjured.
Unfortunately, even with the efforts of this agency and the mining industry, coal mining accidents and fatalities do occur. KRS 352.180 requires all serious and fatal accidents to be reported to DMS immediately.
A serious accident is defined as a physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious and prolonged disfigurement, prolonged impairment of health, or prolonged loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.
When a serious or fatal accident is reported to one of the six DMS branches, a trained accident investigator is dispatched to the mine site. The accident investigator will gather information about the accident to ensure the safety of employees at the mine is not menaced and to generate a written report of the accident. A representative of DMS shall review the accident with a company official and the victim and/or victim's family at the completion of the report. The report shall then be filed in the DMS Frankfort office for future record of the accident.
All serious and fatal accident reports filed in the DMS Frankfort office shall be subject to open records request before being released to the public.
For questions concerning accident investigation or accident reports, please contact our Chief investigator, Tim Fugate at 502-573-0140. You may also email Fugate at Tim.Fugate@ky.gov.