Mine operator citations up 41%

Special impact inspections in July that covered 13 states resulted in 161 citations, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has announced. This is a 41-percent increase from the 114 citations issued the previous month. Joseph S Dreesen at law firm Jackson Lewis comments.

MSHA said it levied 76 citations against six metal and nonmetal mine operators in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, South Dakota, and Texas and 85 citations against 11 coal mine operators in Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

MSHA chief Joseph A Main said, “MSHA has developed web tools for mine operators to better monitor these types of violations in order to improve compliance. Our inspectors are paying close attention to mines with high violations of these standards as well.”

Since April 2010, when MSHA announced monthly impact inspections “in force” at mines that had raised compliance concerns, the agency’s inspectors have conducted 1,190 impact inspections and issued 16,590 citations, 1,317 orders, and 60 safeguards.

On August 29, 2016, MSHA issued a “call to safety” to coal miners working in underground and surface mines, citing concerns about worker safety. It said that, since October 2015, the nation’s coal mines have had eight fatalities and 1,124 non-fatal accidents, the most non-fatal accidents occurring in West Virginia (419), Kentucky (191), Pennsylvania (130), and Illinois (94). The injuries led to restricted duty, missed days at work and permanent disabilities, the agency said. Injury rates have been “fairly consistent,” but MSHA records “indicate a trend in accidents resulting in more serious injuries.” It noted that at least 30 of the accidents “might have led” to fatalities. Injuries to the back, shoulders, knees, and fingers were the most common. The majority of the near-fatal accidents were linked to powered haulage, electrical, and machinery classifications.

Through September 30, 2016, MSHA’s “call to safety” includes “walks and talks.” Inspectors are reminding coal miners and mine operators to “stop and take a breath” before moving onto the next task. Main said the “walks and talks” are “intended to increase miners’ awareness of recent accidents, encourage the application of safety training and raise hazard recognition.”

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