North / South America
MSHA finds violations in Alpha Natural Resources coal mines
Jun, 13 2012
(Virginia/Kentucky) -- It was reported that last week, energy giant Alpha Natural Resources was cited for more than 200 violations from the Mine Safety and Health Administration, as part of one of the agency’s “blitz” inspections.
Perhaps the largest ever leveled at a single company, with some 100 inspectors visiting 43 separate mines in West Virginia Kentucky and Virginia the sweep was prompted by an imminent danger order issued by the agency last month.
As part of its regular quarterly inspection of Alpha’s Road Fork 51 Mine near Pineville, West Virginia, inspectors arrived on the morning of May 18 to find management attempting to locate the source of thick smoke just outside a working section of the mine. MSHA officials immediately ordered the evacuation of the mine.
The MSHA charged in its order that “The operator has engaged in aggravated conduct constituting more than ordinary negligence because thick smoke was verified, the source of the smoke was not known, miners were underground and the extent of the source of the smoke could not be determined to allow miners to remain underground safely.”
Inspectors also found the mine to be equipped with inoperable smoke detectors and fire suppression systems, inadequate conveyor belt maintenance, and multiple accumulations of explosive coal dust up to 18 inches deep. Moreover, the agency alleged that safety records had been falsified.
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