MSHA Announces Results of June Impact Inspections

Federal inspectors issued 186 citations in June.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration announced that federal inspectors issued 186 citations, 25 orders, and one safeguard during special impact inspections conducted at 11 coal mines and two metal and nonmetal mines in June.

The monthly inspections, which began in force in April 2010 following the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine, involve mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to their poor compliance history or particular compliance concerns.

In a June 24 impact inspection at Rhino Eastern LLC's Eagle Mine 3 in Wyoming County, W.Va., MSHA found dozens of violations in which the mine operator allegedly failed to follow approved ventilation, methane, and dust control plans, which resulted in closure orders.

"Conditions found at Rhino that led to closure orders put miners at risk of explosions," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "The dust conditions at the Rhino mine also exposed miners to black lung disease. The new respirable dust regulations, which go into effect on Aug. 1, are aimed at curbing the disease and will address these types of operator shortfalls."

Since April 2010, MSHA has conducted 780 impact inspections and issued 12,627 citations, 1,170 orders, and 54 safeguards.

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