The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has warned 15 mining operations to clean up their health and safety practices or face stricter enforcement. The agency said 13 coal mines, a dirt processing plant and a gold mine have been cited repeatedly for “significant and substantial” violations that could have caused serious injuries or illnesses. The mining operations named are supposed to craft plans for reducing violations and will be monitored closely by health and safety inspectors for 90 days. If they improve, MSHA says they won’t be listed as having a pattern of violations, which leads to greater scrutiny and tougher disciplinary action. MSHA wants the companies to “incorporate needed improvements into their safety and health programs.”
Five of the mines are located in Kentucky, four in West Virginia and three in Virginia. The agency also warned the dirt processing plant in California and a Nevada gold mine. Among other things, the designation allows MSHA to interrupt production by ordering workers to leave a mine until a serious violation is corrected. The agency has issued similar warnings to more than 40 mining operations in the United States since mid-2007, including 16 last June. Those mines reduced their serious violation rates by an average of 74.81%, according to MSHA. Among the operations warned are two mines and a processing plant controlled by Richmond, Virgina-based Massey Energy Co., the nation’s fourth-largest coal producer by revenue. The agency also singled out Richmond, Virginia-based James River Coal Co. about its Blue Diamond Coal Co.’s mine No. 77. Hidden Splendor Resources Inc. has been cited hundreds of times a year for violations at its Horizon mine 11 miles west of Helper, Utah, according to MSHA. Hidden Splendor is a subsidiary of Salt Lake City-based America West Resources Inc.
Source: Associated Press
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