Mine Safety and Health Blog

The Official Blog of Mine Safety and Health News

Archive for September, 2011

Vol. 18, No. 18

Posted by Ellen Smith on September 26, 2011

  • Accidents:
    • MSHA supervisor hurt at Alaska mine (494)
    • Fire closes San Juan Mine (494)
    • Corrosion blamed in ground fall (495)
    • Torch sparks fire on quarry belt (495)
    • Geologic difficulties lead to roof problems in new Alabama mine (496)
    • Fire in salt mine extinguished with no injuries (496)
  • Civil Penalties:
    • Another penalty case dismissed because of MSHA’s missed deadlines (497)
    • MSHA takes Wilcoal Mining to court over civil penalties (498)

  • Communications: Buck Slope Mine elects to install wireless communication after preliminary injunction (498)
  • Criminal Proceedings: Former UBB examiner sentenced to prison, probation (499)
  • Discrimination:
    • Mach Mining sued by EEOC for not hiring women (500)
    • EEOC files race discrimination case against River View Coal (500)
  • Discovery: ALJ heavily chastises Secretary, CLRs in discovery request (500)
  • Fatalities:
    • Electrical accident kills one at portable plant (501)
    • 56-foot plunge kills plant employee (502)
    • Broken machine, lack of training led to contract supervisor’s death (502)
    • Stepping into “red zone” during machine motion caused fatality (503)
    • MSHA Blames Heart Disease In Contract Truck Driver’s Death (505)
  • General News:
    • Nine institutions benefit from Brookwood-Sago grants (506)
    • MSHA announces $8.44 million in state grants (507)

    • Arch Coal offers grants in West Virginia, Colorado (507)
  • On the Move: Metal/Nonmetal gets new deputy administrator; MSHA announces new CLRs (507)
  • Private Suits:
    • Miner sues coal company after paralyzed in roof fall (508)
    • $45 Million settlement approved in Libby, Mont., asbestos litigation (509)

    • Review Commission: Secretary can’t use “simplified proceedings” process for constitutional issues (510)
    • Water Quality: Company ordered to find uranium contamination (510)
    • Workers’ Compensation: Former UMWA miner not entitled to union

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Today is Dedicated to 13 Miners

Posted by Ellen Smith on September 23, 2011

Today is dedicated to the memories of the 13 miners killed and three miners injured in the Sept. 23, 2001 mine explosion at the Jim Walter Resources No. 5 Mine in Brookwood, Ala.

Miners Injured:
Tony Key of Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Michael McIe of Brookwood, Ala. and
Skip Palmer, 48, Brookwood, Ala.

Miners Killed on Sept. 23, 2001:
Ray Ashworth, 53, Cottondale, Ala. Yrs. with JWR: 5 (formerly of Martins Ferry, Ohio)
Nelson Banks, 52, Bessemer, Ala. Yrs. with JWR: 24
Dave Blevins, 52, Tuscaloosa, Ala. Yrs. with JWR: 7 (formerly of Anawalt, W.Va.)
Gaston Adams Jr., 56, Bessemer, Ala. Yrs. with JWR: 19
Clarence Boyd, 38, McCalla, Ala. Yrs. with JWR: 16
Wendell Johnson, 52, Cottondale, Ala. Yrs. with JWR: 5 (formerly of Keokee, Va.)
John Knox, 44, Pleasant Grove, Ala. Yrs. with JWR: 22
Joe Riggs, 51, Cottondale, Ala. Yrs. with JWR: 5 (formerly of Roderfield, W.Va.)
Terry Stewart, 44, Cordova, Ala. Yrs. with JWR: 22
Joe Sorah, 46, Duncanville, Ala. Yrs. with JWR: 4 (formerly of Welch, W.Va.).
Charles Smith, 44, Brookwood, Ala. Yrs. with JWR: 5
Charles Nail, 59, Birmingham, Ala. Yrs. with JWR: 24
Dennis Mobley, 56, Brent, Ala. Yrs. with JWR: 22

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Former UBB Mine Examiner Gets 10 Months in Prison

Posted by Ellen Smith on September 22, 2011

Former Upper Big Branch mine examiner Thomas Harrah, 45, of Boone County, West Virginia, was sentenced to 10 months in prison and three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Irene C. Berger today.

“This sentence sends an important and unmistakable message: If you break the law and threaten the lives of coal miners, you should expect prison time,

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Wilcoal Taken to Court Over Penalties

Posted by Ellen Smith on September 20, 2011

Wilcoal Mining Inc. has been taken to court by MSHA under the Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act. MSHA is trying to collect unpaid penalties owed for 877 citations dating back to Sept. 2003. According to MSHA, Wilcoal owes $645,951 in penalties and administrative costs. Wilcoal was one of many companies featured in an April 8, 2011 story by Mine Safety and Health News on a one day “snapshot” of 16,438 delinquent penalties totaling $56 million. Wilcoal made the list as a company on MSHA’s potential “Pattern of Violation” list with outstanding delinquent penalties. The company is controlled by Wilma Wagner. The case is before U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee, Knoxville Division.

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Vol. 18, No. 17

Posted by Ellen Smith on September 12, 2011

  • Accidents:
    • Bull mountain roof troubles continue (462)
    • Haulage incident injures novice miner (463)
    • Derailment causes mangled leg (464)
    • Towing of roof bolter leads to injury (464)
    • Worker sustains crushing injury in coal sampling machine (465)
    • Uncharted gas well causes mine flood (465)
    • MHSA investigates two fires in underground silver mine (466)
    • Drill detonates explosives in underground lead mine (466)
    • Lightning may have sparked roof arc underground (467)
  • Attorney’s Fees: Widow awarded attorney fees after case improperly proceeded (467)
  • Black Lung: Widow wins benefits for third time in husband’s black lung case (468)
  • Civil Penalties: Case closed on 2006 R&D Coal blast as company agrees to pay penalties (468)
  • Equipment Safety:
    • ALJ decision vacated on back-up alarms for mobile equipment (469)
    • MSHA issues proposed rule for proximity detection systems; comments due Nov. 14 (470)
  • Fatalities:
    • Drilling incident fatal to contract worker (471)
    • Blasting debris causes death of gold miner (471)
    • Grader in pedestrian area contributed to fatal accident in Florida (472)
    • No MSHA violations in death of 19-year-old coal miner (473)
  • Haulage: MSHA has few regs on haulage hazards in underground coal mines (475)
  • Liability: Contractor is liable for violation where it supervised a pipe delivery (477)
  • On the Move: Zeiler moves up to head MSHA’s Tech Support; MSHA announces other personnel changes (479)
  • Part 50 Reporting: Peabody Midwest challenges ALJ decision to turn over documents to MSHA (480)
  • Private Suits: Limited discovery to move forward in wrongful death claim (481)
  • Self-Contained Self-Rescuers: MSHA clarifies reporting procedures for SCSRs (482)
  • Ventilation: Operators partially prevail in ventilation plan dispute case (482)
  • Review Commission and ALJ Decisions (485)

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