MSHA's Latest Flagrant Fines Follow Mechanic's Death

The Mine Safety and Health Administration said it has assessed a total of $417,400 in fines against Genesis Inc.'s, Troy Mine in Lincoln County, Mont., for four violations relating to inadequate ground support. The violations were discovered during an inspection of the mine in January, six months after a mine mechanic was killed when a fall of ground trapped him in the cab of his truck, MSHA said.

"A miner lost his life because of inadequately supported ground conditions last year, and MSHA inspectors discovered similar conditions at the mine six months later," said Richard Stickler, acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "Other miners could have been seriously injured or lost their lives. Mine operators who repeatedly ignore safety regulations will be held accountable."

MSHA inspectors issued the four flagrant citations for the mine's alleged failure to ensure adequate ground support in working areas of the mine. Inspectors found potentially hazardous conditions that could have resulted in serious injury or death to miners at several places in the mine, the agency said. The MINER Act allows MSHA to assess for flagrant violations, which are defined as reckless or repeated failures to make reasonable efforts to eliminate a known violation of a mandatory safety and health standard that substantially and proximately caused, or reasonably could have been expected to cause, death or serious bodily injury. This category, which carries a civil penalty up to $220,000 per violation, has boosted MSHA's penalties well beyond the penalties ordinarily issued by OSHA.

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