MSHA’s January Impact Inspections Target Nonmetal Plants

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced that federal inspectors issued 176 citations, eight orders and one safeguard during special impact inspections conducted at 13 coal mines and three metal and nonmetal mines in January.

On Jan. 6, MSHA began an impact inspection at FMC Corp’s Westvaco trona mine in Sweetwater County, Wyo., during which inspectors issued 30 citations and two orders – one for failure to maintain the minimum quantity of air at the mining face of an active working section.

Further investigation revealed that the immediate area was mined and roof bolted with low airflow. Federal regulations require the mine operator to maintain 9,000 cu. ft./min. in longwall and continuous-mining sections.

Inspectors issued a second order because auxiliary face fans recirculated air back to the working face area. MSHA’s standard requires that, when auxiliary fan systems are used, such systems shall minimize recirculation and be maintained to provide ventilation air that effectively sweeps work areas.

Inspectors issued five citations because mining equipment was not being maintained in a permissible condition. Westvaco is a Category III mine, which applies to mines in which noncombustible ore is extracted and which liberate an explosive concentration of methane.

MSHA also inspected Childer’s Hill Gravel in Crump, Tenn. The agency issued five citations and one order.

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