The U.S. Department of Labor announced that its Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) completed impact inspections at 14 mines in 10 states in August, issuing 246 violations.
Begun after an explosion killed 29 miners in West Virginia at the Upper Big Branch Mine in 2010, monthly impact inspections are conducted at mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to poor compliance history; previous accidents, injuries, and illnesses; and other compliance concerns.
Among the 246 violations MSHA identified in August, 94 were evaluated as significant and substantial, or S&S, violations and 17 were found to have an unwarrantable failure finding. An S&S violation is one reasonably likely to cause a reasonably serious injury or illness. Violations designated as unwarrantable failures occur when an inspector finds aggravated conduct that constitutes more than ordinary negligence.
MSHA completed monthly impact inspections at mines in Alabama, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Wyoming in August.
So far this year, the agency’s impact inspections have identified 1,969 violations, including 587 S&S and 40 unwarrantable failure findings.
Inspections took place in August at Carmeuse Holding’s Yager Materials Corp., Riverside Stone Mine operation in Kentucky; Holcim’s Alpena Plant in Michigan; and Martin Marietta Materials’ Noblesville Stone operation in Indiana, among others.
“August impact inspections resulted in a troubling number of unwarrantable failure findings at multiple mines, representing serious safety and health hazards that operators knew put miners at risk and should have corrected,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson. “Impact inspections remain an important tool to hold operators accountable and eliminate hazards such as combustible materials near belts, hazards that history shows can unfortunately cause mine fires and lost lives.”