MSHA December Impact Inspection Results Released

Mine Safety and Health Administration personnel conducted inspections at 11 coal mines and two metal and nonmetal mines during the month.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration announced that its inspectors issued 135 citations, 24 orders, and one safeguard during special inspections in December 2013 done at 11 coal mines and two metal and nonmetal mines. The inspections were part of MSHA's monthly inspections that began in April 2010 after the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion. The inspections, according to MSHA, involve mines that "merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to their poor compliance history or particular compliance concerns."

The first inspection, completed at Hanover Resources' Caymus Mine in Boone County, W.Va., resulted MSHA's issuing seven 104(d)(2) unwarrantable failure orders and six 104(a) citations. The mine operator allegedly failed to follow an approved ventilation plan, the mine did not have adequate airflow, and required line curtains were either rolled up or in the wrong location. Inspectors also found the mine's ventilation system to be disrupting, causing belt air to flow into the working section instead of away from it. The inspectors also found accumulations of combustible material consisting of fine coal dust in various locations of a working section, among a handful of other alleged violations.

Another inspection was conducted at the Jerritt Canyon Mill in Elko County, Nevada, which is owned by Veris Gold U.S.A. MSHA issued 61 citations and orders to the operator as a result of the inspection after inspectors found a series of alleged violations, including a chemical container improperly stored, no warning signs for hazardous chemical storage, several unsecured gas cylinders, a broken ladder and insufficient illumination, and failure to conduct workplace exams.

Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, said the results of these two inspections "clearly indicate that some mine operators still don't get it. They simply failed to comply with the Mine Act and find and fix hazards to protect miners from injury, illness, and death."

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