Occupational Health & Safety

Alpha Natural Resources Mine Hits Two-Year Milestone

The company's CEO recently announced improved safety results across the company, including 84 operations with no lost-time injuries and two former Massey Energy mines removed from MSHA's potential pattern of violation list.

Alpha Natural Resources' Belle Ayr surface coal mine in Gillette, Wyo., has reached two years with zero lost-time accidents. The mine recorded 1.3 million man-hours of work during that period and produced 24.6 million tons of coal in 2011, the company announced March 6.

"This is a significant milestone that does not happen without the efforts of each and every one of the 400 employees," said Steve Rennell, Alpha Coal West Business Unit president. "The achievement demonstrates the commitment and dedication to Running Right and toward a culture where safety is incorporated in all things we do."

In addition to the no lost-time accident achievement, the mine also placed second in the State of Wyoming Mine Inspector Safety Award. This award recognizes operations for their safety performance over a 12-month period.Alpha CEO Kevin Crutchfield said Feb. 24, when he announced Alpha's FY2011 results, that the company "continued to make significant progress in safety, Running Right and the integration of the legacy Massey operations. Alpha finished the year with 84 operations reporting zero lost time accidents and 65 operations with zero reportable injuries," he said. "In addition, six of our operations were honored with the 2011 Mountaineer Guardian safety award. One of the most notable accomplishments was the removal of two legacy Massey mines, Randolph and Revolution, from MSHA's potential pattern of violation list. The incident rate at the legacy Massey operations in the fourth quarter showed about a 20 percent improvement compared to the third quarter of 2011. Compliance also improved, as the number of elevated MSHA enforcement actions at the legacy Massey operations decreased by approximately 45 percent compared to the previous quarter. As the integration proceeds, employee engagement at the legacy Massey operations, as measured by the number of Running Right observation cards, has been exceptional. Finally, reducing the annualized voluntary turnover rate at the legacy Massey operations is expected to be the largest driver of operations synergies from the acquisition. The turnover rate has improved steadily for several months and is now in the mid-single digits. Overall the integration has been successful, and we remain on track to achieve our targeted recurring annual synergies of $220 million to $260 million by mid-year 2013."

Acquiring Massey Energy made Alpha the world's third-largest metallurgical coal supplier. Crutchfield explains the behavior-based Running Right approach in a YouTube video that's available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEP1n37tlUM&list=UUioEGK5wrUINEd-31VgMKmw&index=3&feature=plcp.

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