A contractor’s failure to prevent concrete from surging in a hose workers were using on a construction project at an Indiana coal mine led to the death of a 43-year-old laborer, according to an investigation of the accident released today by MSHA.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld an order by an administrative law judge (ALJ) that an Indiana coal operator must pay a $70,000 penalty for committing an unwarrantable failure violation of MSHA’s standard on coal accumulations.
ALJ Margaret Miller agreed with MSHA that Black Beauty Coal Co. had violated the agency’s 75.400 standard at its Air Quality #1 (AQ1) Mine in Knox County. Black Beauty took its case to the appeals court after the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission sided with Miller.
MSHA is not entitled to unduly delay a Sec. 110(c) special investigation, an administrative law judge (ALJ) ruled in a decision released today.
Senior ALJ Michael E. Zielinski said, “[S]ection 110(c) enforcement actions should be initiated within a reasonable time, considering the nature and complexity of the matters involved. Extensive delays should not be tolerated.
Eugene E. White has been appointed to head the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training (OMHS&T).
White had been the deputy director. He succeeds C.A. Phillips, who retired at the end of the year.
"Eugene, a former coal miner, has served the public for many years in the OMHS&T,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said in announcing the change Dec. 31. “He has made important contributions to mine safety as the Deputy Director. He has also been an integral part of the State's Mine Emergency Team.
OSHA will have a busy year in 2013 if the 25 items on its latest regulatory agenda move forward then.
In an agenda posted Thursday, OSHA listed 14 items for final action next year, including an occupational injury and illness reporting rule and a regulation on slips, trips and falls. Another six items in the proposed rule stage were announced, including one to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses and to regulate crystalline silica.
Mine operators will be greeted early in the new year with inflation-adjusted higher civil penalties and a new final rule addressing pattern violators under a regulatory agenda MSHA released Thursday.
Other final rules MSHA hopes to release later in 2013 deal with proximity detection systems for continuous mining machines (CMMs) in underground coal mines, which is set to go out in May, and respirable coal dust, in June.
A Kentucky coal mine has closed following an MSHA impact inspection in November, one of 16 mines visited under the program during the month.
TRC Mining Corp. chose to shutter its #2 Mine after MSHA issued seven orders, including two for allegedly failing to abate previous citations. The enforcement action shut down the entire underground portion of the Letcher County operation. A total of 30 miners were employed at the mine, which had amassed $160,382 in fines this year prior to the inspection.
A haul truck driver was fatally injured at a Kentucky underground limestone mine because management failed to ensure the victim was task trained in the safe operation of the vehicle, safe operating speeds were maintained, and hazardous conditions on the road were corrected in a timely manner, according to MSHA.
A jury has found that two Pennsylvania lawyers and a West Virginia radiologist conspired to defraud CSX Transportation (CSX) by filing fraudulent asbestos claims.
On Dec. 20, an eight-member jury in West Virginia found Robert Peirce and Louis Raimond of the former Pittsburgh law firm of Peirce, Raimond & Coulter (PR&C) guilty of racketeering, conspiracy and fraud, the West Virginia Record reported. The jurists brought the same verdict against Ray Harron, a Bridgeport radiologist the lawyers used to support their fraudulent asbestos cases.
A federal judge handling cases brought by federal prosecutors over the Upper Big Branch-South (UBB) Mine tragedy has refused further delay in the sentencing of a key witness.
U.S. District Court Judge Irene Berger told the U.S. Attorney’s Office they failed to show good cause for another delay and, as a result, said sentencing of Gary May must go forward as scheduled on Jan. 17 in Beckley. May was working as a superintendent at UBB when an explosion in April 2010 killed 29 miners. At the time, the mine was owned by Massey Energy Co.
An Arizona copper producer and its contractor have been cited following the death in September of a 34-year-old contract worker who had six days’ experience on the job.
Jon Vanoss fell about 30 feet to his death on Sept. 12 at BHP Copper, Inc.’s Pinto Valley Operations in Gila County, a nonproducing surface copper mine. Vanoss, a laborer with just six days' experience, was employed by Tetra Tech Construction Services of Phoenix, which had been hired to perform rehabilitation services on the plant’s mill and processing equipment.
MSHA has issued multiple orders charging a North Dakota-based aggregate producer with aggravated conduct beyond ordinary negligence in connection with the death of an employee at a sand and gravel operation in July.
Strata Corp. faces four unwarrantable failure orders and a citation following MSHA’s investigation into the death July 26 of Peter P. Faust, 49, an equipment operator, at Strata’s Portable Crushing Plant #1 in Richmond County, Montana.
The intent of MINER Act requirements for wireless communications and tracking systems in underground coal mines is to enhance safety, but, in an ironic twist, the proliferation of these systems has given rise to another concern: their potential to cause an explosion from an unintended interaction with explosive materials.
OSHA has scheduled two stakeholder meetings to collect information on back-over risks in order to evaluate those risks among various industries, identify prevention strategies and determine their effectiveness. Read more »
The body of a West Virginia miner missing since Nov. 30 when the bulldozer he was operating slid into a coal impoundment pond has been recovered.
Markel J. Koon, 58, of Shinnston was located about 4:40 p.m. today at Consol Energy’s Nolan’s Run slurry impoundment in Harrison County. An experienced miner, Koon had nearly 38 years of service with the company. An autopsy will be performed in Charleston.
An appeals panel has upheld the conviction of the former security chief at the Upper Big Branch-South (UBB) Mine.
Hughie Elbert Stover had argued that U.S. District Judge Irene Berger improperly denied his motion to suppress statements he made to investigators, a motion to dismiss the charges against him, and a motion for acquittal. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the appeal in a 17-page unpublished opinion released today.
An engineering and consulting firm that provided services to the operator of the Crandall Canyon Mine is an independent operator subject to MSHA jurisdiction, an administrative law judge (ALJ) ruled Dec. 6. If the decision stands, it might give pause to consultants seeking business with mine operators, even if most of the work is done off mine property.
Jim Boxley, an “ultimate professional,” “leader,” “excellent trainer” and all-around “nice guy,” has retired as Corporate Safety Director for Central Pre-Mix Concrete Co. in Washington State. The company is a subsidiary of Oldcastle Materials.
Boxley’s retirement, effective Nov. 30, ends a 30-year career that has been dominated by his work in safety. He has made a lasting impression on individuals he trained and worked with over the years, and a tangible part of his legacy is an annual training program for supervisors and other mining personnel that he started from scratch.
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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