Ninth Former Armstrong Coal Official Charged in Kentucky Case

A federal grand jury also charged the nine Armstrong Coal officials with making false statements as to results of tests required to be conducted every 60 days to protect certain "designated occupations," which are the dustiest and most dangerous job assignments in a coal mine.

MSHA announced Feb. 27 that a ninth former Armstrong Coal official has been charged with conspiracy to defraud an agency of the United States government, in this case by conspiring to deceive federal mine safety regulators about the daily levels of breathable dust at two coal mines -- the Parkway Mine of Muhlenberg County, Ky., and Kronos Mine of Ohio County, Ky. A federal grand jury also charged the nine Armstrong Coal officials with making false statements as to results of tests required to be conducted every 60 days to protect certain "designated occupations," which are the dustiest and most dangerous job assignments in a coal mine.

The previous charges were announced in July 2018. A federal grand jury now has indicted Glendal "Buddy" Hardison, former manager of all Armstrong Coal western Kentucky mines, alleging that Hardison met with co-defendant Ron Ivy and an unindicted co-conspirator in 2013 and ordered them to do whatever they had to do to "make the pumps come in," according to the MSHA news release.

It quoted U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman: "As we showed today, the United States will continue to aggressively go up the chain to hold accountable those who made calculated business decisions that placed our miners at grave risk."

"Miners' safety and health is our top priority," said David G. Zatezalo, assistant secretary in charge of MSHA, which conducted the investigation that led to the charges. "If supervisors and safety officials are breaking the law, we'll do everything we can to ensure that the laws are enforced and miners receive the protections they deserve," he added.

The indictment charges Armstrong officials removed dust testing devices early in the miners' shifts and placed them in less dusty or "clean air"; that during a testing period, officials replaced miners who ran the most dust-causing machines with miners who were not wearing the dust testing devices so that the company would pass the tests; that Armstrong officials fabricated and submitted dust sampling test results on days the mine was shut down or otherwise not in operation; that officials ordered that testing devices be run in "clean air" before and after shifts to skew the test results move favorably; and that a mine superintendent twice ordered a safety official to take whatever action was necessary to ensure the company passed dust sampling tests.

Armstrong Coal, now bankrupt, is designated by the indictment as an unindicted co-conspirator. The former Armstrong supervisory and safety officials who have been charged in the case are:

  • Charley Barber, 63, of Madisonville, a former superintendent of Parkway Mine
  • Glendal Hardison, 69, of Belton, former manager of all of Armstrong Coal western Kentucky mines
  • Brian Keith Casebier, 60, of Earlington, a former safety director at Parkway Mine
  • Steven Demoss, 48, of Nortonville, a former assistant safety director at Parkway Mine
  • Billie Hearld, 42, of Russellville, a former section foreman at Parkway Mine
  • Ron Ivy, 50, of Manitou, a former safety director at Kronos Mine
  • John Ellis Scott, 62, of South Carrollton, a former employee in the Safety Department at Parkway Mine
  • Dwight Fulkerson, 40, of Drakesboro, a former section foreman who performed dust testing at Parkway Mine
  • Jeremy Hackney, 46, of White Plains, a former section foremen who performed dust testing at Parkway Mine

The Kronos Mine remains in operation under different ownership, but the Parkway Mine is no longer open, the release states.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track safety KPIs and metrics. Gain increased visibility into your business’ operations and safety data.

  • Analyze Incident Data

    Collect relevant incident data, analyze trends, and generate accurate regulatory reports, including OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 logs, through IndustrySafe’s extensive incident reporting and investigation module.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - March 2019

    March 2019

    Featuring:

    • HEARING PROTECTION
      Not Your Grandpa's Ear Muffs 
    • FALL PROTECTION
      Far Too Many Fatal Falls
    • DRUG TESTING
      Marijuana in the Workplace
    • FALL PREVENTION
      Ladder Safety Tips
    View This Issue