Coal mine roof failure is categorized according to character, trend, or pattern of occurrence. Two principal categories of failure are proposed--geology related and stress related. Geology-related failure includes both lithology and structure. Each of several subcategories reflects the probable cause of failure and thereby provides a basis for the selection of appropriate techniques for reducing the incidence of failure. These control techniques, depending on local conditions, may include supplementary support, destressing, reduction of mine air humidity, or a change in the customary support methods.