Using metalliferous terminology sudden collapses of the sides of coal mine roadways are likely to be strain bursts, plus the possibility of some kinematic failures or slumps. Brittle failure in coal induces vertical slabs parallel to the excavation boundary, which if unsupported, can topple or slide into the roadway. In Australian coalmines, the potential collapse of the ribs during strain bursting is controlled by the routine rib support that is installed off the continuous miners. Mine seismicity may be the trigger for additional brittle failure. The energy released by brittle failure can be absorbed by a bolted and meshed rib or may cause ejection. The association of the term “coal burst” with high velocity ejection of coal may be preventing the identification of sudden rib failures, which are the simple collapse under gravity of kinematically acceptable wedges that have dimensions greater than the length of the installed bolts. Vertical pillar deformations later in the mining cycle may generate additional brittle failure or load existing kinematically acceptable slabs or wedges causing them to collapse.