Mining cos. cited for safety violations in West Virginia accidents

Posted on behalf of Stewart Bell, PLLC on Oct 18, 2011 in Coal Mining Accidents

The West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training issued more than a dozen citations related to fatal mining accidents this past summer. Inspectors reported the enforcement actions to the agency's board last week. The investigations are still underway in the Logan and Raleigh County coal mines.

The first accident, in June, occurred in a Raleigh County mine. Inspectors were following up on a 33-year-old miner's death when they found 16 violations at the location.

The miner had been part of a team working to clean up loose parts of the underground mine wall. As they worked to address the safety concern, the roof cracked. That section of roof as well as a portion of the wall collapsed, killing the miner.

Inspectors cited the mine operator for wall stabilization violations and the lack of an emergency medical technician. The mine also had several ventilation violations, the inspectors said.

In Logan County, a roof fall killed a 46-year-old miner on Aug. 15. Inspectors reported that the victim was working with several other miners to move the longwall machine in the underground operation. Such a move requires relocating the shields -- mechanized roof supports -- from one mine section to another.

According to inspectors, the workers did not follow a proper plan for supporting the roof during the longwall move. The failure to follow a plan earned two foreman personal citations from the agency.

The report did not specifically link any violations to the miners' deaths. These were just two of the state's five fatal mining accidents during 2011.

Source: Charleston Gazette, "Rhino, Arch cited in two miner deaths," Ken Ward Jr., Oct. 13, 2011

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