WV Coal Mine Cited for Exposing Workers to Potentially Fatal Conditions

MSHA has cited Rhino Eastern LLC's Eagle Mine 3, filing 38 violations.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has cited Rhino Eastern LLC's Eagle Mine 3, located in Wyoming County, W.Va., for 38 alleged violations, according to a report from MSHA. The agency's inspection – completed on June 24 – found the coal mine had exposed miners to conditions that could put them at risk for black lung disease, as well as potentially deadly explosions.

During the inspection, MSHA found the mine operator failed to follow approved ventilation, methane, and dust control plans in several locations underground. In addition, MSHA inspectors found critical ventilation controls were not installed while the continuous mining machine was cutting coal, which left visible, thick dust. Pieces of mining equipment were found to be operating without ventilation controls and without the required amount of air quantity, as well, which is necessary for carrying away flammable, explosive, and harmful gases. Other hazards were also reported, such as two roof bolting machines that were operating without properly installed ventilation line curtains.

"The alarming conditions found at Eagle Mine 3 show that common-sense practices to prevent black lung, mine explosions, and other hazards were ignored," said Assistant Secretary Joe Main. "There is absolutely no excuse for allowing such dangerous conditions to exist, and miners deserve better."

New respirable dust regulations designed to end black lung go into effect on Aug 1. MSHA visited Eagle Mine 3 due to its elevated citation rate in the first quarter or 2014. 

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