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West Virginia coal mine cited for safety violations

As many West Virginia residents know, mining is a substantial industry in the state. It can also be a dangerous occupation if safety measures are not taken. For that reason, the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration performs spot inspections on mines to help protect against unnecessary workplace injuries, similar to OSHA investigations performed in other industries.

The MSHA seeks to enforce compliance with safety and health standards and to prevent unsafe working conditions for miners. A recent inspection of 9 mines, including a West Virginia mine, serves as a reminder as to why such safety checks are so important: all 9 coal mines were cited for various failures to comply with regulations.

Specifically, the MSHA issued 158 citations, 26 orders and three safeguards. In addition to inadequate ventilation in 1 mine, the citations included counts of inadequate roof control, faulty electrical equipment and accumulation of combustible materials. It is well known that these conditions might put the mine at risk for a methane or coal dust explosions.

In a separate inspection, MSHA examined another 40 mines because of the companies' inspection histories. In particular, 1 of the mines inspected previously, located in West Virginia, operated with a burnt conveyer belt.

Per the Mine Act, underground mines are to be inspected 4 times a year to ensure they are in compliance with safety regulations. MSHA will also perform additional inspections to improve existing standards, follow up on a reported mine accident and assess fines for health and safety violations.

While mining techniques and conditions have greatly improved since the founding of the MSHA in 1977, injuries to mine workers still occur in West Virginia. A miner injured on the job can file for workers' compensation to help with expenses incurred while recovering from a workplace injury. An attorney can ensure you pursue all available remedies for your workplace injury.

Source: WOWK, "Nine coal mines cited by MSHA in Ma," Lisa Robbins, June 27, 2012

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