ARLINGTON, Va. — The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration today announced that federal inspectors issued 152 citations, 14 orders and one safeguard during special impact inspections conducted at 10 coal mines and three metal and nonmetal mines in March.
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. The inspection details of two mines are listed below:
On March 18, MSHA conducted an impact inspection at Peabody Midwest Mining LLC's Francisco Underground Pit, located in Gibson County, Ind. The inspection party traveled to the mine and, upon arrival, monitored the mine's communications system to prevent advance notice of the inspection. Six 104(a) citations and five 104(d)(1) unwarrantable failure orders were issued. This was the first impact inspection at this mine.
The inspection party issued a 104(d)(1) order for a loose coal rib that put miners at risk of being struck by falling rock. Another unwarrantable failure order was issued for accumulations of combustible material in the form of loose coal, coal fines and float coal dust at the drive area. These accumulations were present on all horizontal and vertical surfaces, such as the belt structure and rollers, power cables, curtains and belt drive motors for a distance of approximately 240 feet and depth up to one-half inch.
A 104(d)(1) order was issued for an inadequate on-shift examination during the day shift; the examiner failed to record and post the hazardous conditions found, such as loose coal ribs and accumulations of float coal dust and coal fines. This area was last examined four-and-a-half hours before MHSA issued the unwarrantable failure order. The mine was cited for accumulation of combustible material 151 times in the last two years regularly mandated inspections. A 104(d)(1) order also was issued for failure to correct the accumulations of combustible materials that were recorded in the examination book from the preshift inspection.
MSHA cited the mine operator for damaged belt rollers and a misaligned belt, which created a frictional ignition source in the presence of combustible materials and a fire hazard. Inspectors found the mine operator failed to comply with the approved ventilation plan, a standard cited at this mine 53 times in two years during regularly mandated inspections.
MSHA began an impact inspection on March 25 at the Essroc Cement Corp. in Berkeley County, W.Va. MSHA issued four citations to Essroc Cement Corp., and 17 citations and one order to several contractors on site.
Inspectors issued a 104(g)(1) order withdrawing 32 contract miners from the mine because they did not receive proper training from an MSHA-approved trainer. An unattended skid steer fork lift was observed parked with the forks used to lift the front tires off the ground, an unsafe method of preventing a parked fork lift from moving. The operator also was cited for a miner working approximately 25 feet above ground without fall protection. Four citations were issued for the failure to install whip checks (air hose safety cables) on high pressure hoses.
Since April 2010, MSHA has conducted 739 impact inspections and issued 12,122 citations, 1,109 orders and 51 safeguards. MSHA's Monthly Impact Inspections List for March 2014 is now available online.