A judge has reaffirmed his earlier decision that six weigh scales at a Utah sand and gravel operation are not part of roadways and thus do not fall under MSHA’s berm standard.
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Kenneth R. Andrews upheld his previous dismissal of a citation for an alleged violation of 56.9300(b) against the Lakeview Rock Products mine in Salt Lake City. In a 22-page decision Feb. 20, Andrews held that MSHA failed to establish the first two elements of a three-part test articulated by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has ordered coal operators to conduct a one-hour stand-down for safety following the death of four miners in two weeks in the state.
In an executive order this afternoon, Tomblin directed that the state’s coal producers, within the next 24 hours, halt production to review safety laws and best practices. The move comes on the heels of the most recent mine fatality, which occurred last night in Raleigh County. Three others have died since Feb. 6.
A West Virginia man has become the second person to die at the same coal mine this year and the fourth to perish in the Mountain State within the past two weeks.
John Myles, 44, of Hilltop died after an accident at approximately 8 p.m. Tuesday at Affinity Coal Co., LLC’s Affinity Mine in Raleigh County, the state Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training reported this morning.
Metal/Non-Metal (M/NM) mines would get a reprieve from federal inspections if sequestration takes hold.
In a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee made public Feb. 15, acting Secretary of Labor Seth Harris said MSHA would continue to perform coal mine inspections. However, M/NM visits would decline, “potentially leading to an increase in the fatality and injury rate among miners,” he said.
The attorney work-product privilege does not apply in instances where there is no evidence that witness statements in Mine Act cases have been prepared in anticipation of litigation.
The decision Feb. 5 by Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Tureck means that MSHA must turn over to counsel for a coal operator notes of interviews its personnel conducted of miners in connection with an alleged violation, along with interview notes with miners and a report of an interview with an official who is under an associated Sec. 110(c) investigation.
A safety hazard alert recently re-released by MSHA emphasizes the importance of using enhanced warm-up procedures before operating Caterpillar Model 988G/H front-end loaders in cold weather. Read more »
House Democrats have re-introduced legislation aimed at controlling combustible dust.
In a joint statement released Thursday, three lawmakers said that H.R. 691, the Worker Protection Combustible Dust Explosions and Fires Act, would require OSHA to issue interim protections to prevent combustible dusts, like coal, sugar, or metals dust, from building up in industrial facilities to hazardous levels and explode.
A labor-backed petition drive to encourage the White House to move along a proposed comprehensive regulation on crystalline silica has fallen short of the required number of signatures.
The month-long drive to move the stalled OSHA initiative netted 9,601 signatures, according to a reliable source who asked not to be identified because he had not obtained permission to speak for his organization. A minimum of 25,000 signatures were needed to produce a response from the President’s staff. The drive ended Feb. 11.
A West Virginia miner severely injured in an accident Tuesday evening has died from his injuries.
Glenn L. Clutter, 51, of Baxter died this afternoon, according to Lynn Seay, a spokesman for Consol Energy. Clutter was employed at the company’s Loveridge #22 mine near Mannington in the northern part of the state. He suffered severe head trauma when he was struck by a metal bar he was using to try and re-rail a haulage car and had been on life support at an area hospital.
A coal miner in Illinois was killed Wednesday evening after he was pinned between the tail of a continuous mining machine and the rib.
In a preliminary report released Friday, MSHA identified the victim as Timothy K. Chamness, 28. According to a local news source, Chamness lived in Royalton in Franklin County. The accident took place at approximately 8:30 p.m. at Night Hawk Coal, LLC's Prairie Eagle South Mine in Perry County. St. Louis-based Arch Coal is listed in MSHA’s database as a controller.
A West Virginia miner was seriously injured Tuesday night at an underground coal mine near Fairview in Marion County.
The accident at Consolidation Coal Co.’s Loveridge #22 Mine left Glen L. Clutter, 51, of Baxter, in critical condition with severe head trauma. Hoy Murphy, spokesman for the state Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, said the victim was attempting to put a loaded supply car back on the track at about 9:30 p.m. when a slate bar he was using kicked out and hit him in the head.
An MSHA mine inspector who suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) has been sentenced to two years’ probation for filing false inspection reports.
Matthew Blake, 44, was given the maximum sentence under federal guidelines by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Varlan in Knoxville Feb. 7, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Subcommittee assignments on workplace safety have been set for the new congressional term.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans, Tim Walberg (MI) returns as chairman of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. His counterpart on the Democratic side is Joe Courtney (CT).
In a decision of potential importance to any mine operator who transports product by water, an administrative law judge (ALJ) has ruled that the river portion of a dock area where coal is loaded onto barges is not under MSHA’s jurisdiction.
However, the dock itself, including a fixed barge, used to support the loading of coal for water transport is under MSHA’s jurisdiction because some work of “preparing coal” is done there within the meaning of the Mine Act.
The West Virginia Supreme Court has cleared the way for a lawsuit to proceed against MSHA that was filed by widows of two miners killed in an underground coal mine fire seven years ago.
In a ruling last week, the court answered yes to the question another court had asked it to address; namely, whether or not a private party conducting inspections of a mine and mine operator for compliance with mine safety regulations is liable for the wrongful death of a miner resulting from the private party’s negligent inspection.
A labor organization has launched a petition drive in an effort to move OSHA’s stalled crystalline silica proposal forward.
The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) created the petition on the White House web site Jan. 12. It asserts that silica causes both silicosis and cancer and claims that workers have been dying from exposure for about 100 years. The deadline for signing is today.
Two West Virginia men died last week in separate coal mining accidents.
According to MSHA's preliminary report, Brandon E. Townsend, an engineer, was troubleshooting a plate type filter press when a hydraulic cylinder catastrophically failed and struck him. The press was in operation while an evaluation was being conducted due to a programmable logic controller-related problem.
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May 29, Piedmont Triad Transportation Management Center, Greensboro, NC
June 4-6, Holiday Inn and Suites North Beach, Virginia Beach, VA
June 4-6, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Mine Safety Training Center, Cadiz, OH
Current Regulatory Agenda
Proposed (P) Final (F)
(F) Pattern of Violations Issued Jan '13
(F) Prox Detect Devices:CMMs May '13
(F) Respirable Coal Dust Jun '13
(P) Prox Detect Devices UG Jul '13
(P) Civil Penalties Jan '13
(P) Legal Identity Not. Jul '13
(P) Silica Aug '13
(P) Testing Fees Aug '13
(F) Update Signage Mar '13
(F) Coop. Agreements Apr '13
(F) Update NAICS May13
(F) Confined Space Construction Jul '13
(F) Slips, Trips, Falls Aug '13
(P) Silica May '13
(P) Inj/Ill Reporting May '13
(P) Combustible Dust Oct '13
(P) I2P2 Dec '13
- Coal 8
- Aggregates 2
- Other M/NM 5
- Coal 19
- Aggregates 10
- Other M/NM 6
- Coal 21
- Aggregates 8
- Other M/NM 8
- Coal 48
- Aggregates 9
- Other M/NM 14