Two mines subject to unprecedented enforcement action for violations
Apache Mine and Bledsoe Coal Corp.'s Abner Branch Rider Mine in Kentucky were among 14 mines targeted by the MSHA last year for "chronic and persistent health and safety violations" under Section 104(e) of the federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. Of the remaining mines, eight met the prescribed "significant and substantial" goals, two were temporarily idled, one ceased production, and one has not completed the evaluation process.
"The determination was made on the basis of the mine's repeated S&S violations of mandatory safety and health standards pursuant to . . . Part 104 and MSHA's Pattern of Violations Screening Criteria," the letters continue.
Each company is given 90 days to correct the violations or "MSHA shall issue an order requiring the operator to cause all persons in the area affected by such violation, except those persons referred to in Section 104(c) of the Mine Act, to be withdrawn from, and to be prohibited from entering such area until an Authorized Representative of the Secretary determines that such violation has been abated," the letter states. "This POV notice will terminate if, upon inspection of the entire mine, MSHA finds no S&S violations of mandatory safety and health standards."
MSHA recently introduced an online tool to allow mine operators and employees to track a mine's compliance history and compare it to the potential pattern of violation criteria. "Additional mines are under review by MSHA for potential POV and POV actions," the agency said.
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June 6, 2011
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