The U.S. Department of Labor announced that its Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) completed impact inspections at 16 mines in 11 states in December 2023, issuing 247 violations.
The agency began conducting impact inspections after an April 2010 explosion in West Virginia at the Upper Big Branch Mine killed 29 miners.
MSHA’s impact inspections in 2023 identified 2,739 violations, including 764 significant and substantial and 56 unwarrantable failure findings. An S&S violation is one that is 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 inspections occured at locations operated by Eagle Materials, Buzzi Unicem, Graymont, Heidelberg and Cactus Canyon Materials, among others.
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 247 violations MSHA identified in December, 57 were evaluated as S&S and three had unwarrantable failure findings. The agency completed these inspections at mines in Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
“In 2023, MSHA employees demonstrated the importance of conducting impact inspections by identifying hazards, issuing violations, and ensuring that corrective actions were taken to protect miners’ health and safety,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson. “In 2024, the Biden-Harris administration will continue to focus on good jobs, including ensuring that miners are able to return home each day to their families and their communities safe and healthy,” Williamson added.