The U.S. Department of Labor announced that its Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) completed impact inspections at 13 mines in 10 states in October 2023, issuing 215 violations.
MSHA began impact inspections after an April 2010 explosion in West Virginia at the Upper Big Branch Mine killed 29 miners.
Inspections took place at Carmeuse, Arcoa, Eagle Materials and Clyde Holding sites resulting in 53 citations.
To date, impact inspections in 2023 have identified 2,307 violations, including 654 significant and substantial or S&S and 46 unwarrantable failure findings. 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.
The agency conducts impact inspections at mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to poor compliance history; previous accidents, injuries, and illnesses; and other compliance concerns.
Of the 215 violations MSHA identified in October, 50 were evaluated as S&S and six had unwarrantable failure findings. The agency completed October’s inspections at mines in Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.
“The October 2023 impact inspections show miners’ safety and health continues to be put at risk and in ways that are completely preventable,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson. “We remain troubled and concerned with the continued trend in our impact inspections. This trend includes inspectors finding violations that put miners’ lives at risk, such as float coal dust, improper fall protection and a lack of adequate workplace examinations.”