MSHA announces results of February impact inspections

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Mine Safety and Health Administration today announced that federal inspectors issued 146 citations and six orders during special impact inspections at 10 coal mines and five metal and nonmetal mines in February.

Begun in force in April 2010, the monthly inspections involve mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to their poor compliance history or particular compliance concerns. MSHA conducted impact inspections at mines in Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

Here are the details of one inspection:

On Feb. 23, MSHA conducted an impact inspection of the Dana Mining Company’s 4 West Mine in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania. This mine recently experienced a fatal rib fall accident. Enforcement personnel issued nine citations and six orders, finding the following unwarrantable failure violations for:

  • An inadequate preshift examination that failed to identify coal accumulations on a working section.
  • Unattended energized equipment that was left on a working section for approximately two hours during a shift change.
  • Accumulations of methane on the same section where energized equipment was left unattended due to missing ventilation controls.
  • Failure to maintain firefighting equipment along an active beltline.

The severity and negligence evaluations of these conditions were deemed unwarrantable because the mine operator did not mitigate the known hazards, but demonstrated an indifference or serious lack of reasonable care toward the safety of its miners.

This mine was chosen due to continued noncompliance with the roof control plan, ventilation plan, hazard condition complaints and accident history.

Since April 2010, MSHA has conducted 1,113 impact inspections and issued 15,979 citations, 1,309 orders and 58 safeguards.

Editor’s Note: MSHA’s Monthly Impact Inspection List for February 2016 is available online.

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