Six underground coal mines in Kentucky have been shut down by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration. The mines had received numerous citations and closure orders by federal inspectors as a result of the nationwide impact of inspections that took place in April. Each of these operations was forced to suspend production until the violations were corrected. Fifty-seven underground coal mines were targeted for these impact inspections. Each was selected based on its history of significant and/or repeat violations of safety standards concerning methane, mine ventilation and rock dusting. In addition, two of the six Kentucky mines have now been sued by the Labor Department for illegally providing advance notice of a federal inspector’s presence on mine property.
There have been 238 citations, 55 orders and one safeguard issued to these six mines. In total, MSHA inspectors issued 109 withdrawal/failure to abate orders, 1,339 citations and six safeguards nationwide during the five-day inspection blitz that occurred April 19th to 23rd. Joseph A. Main, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, observed:
After last month’s tragic reminder of the consequences of failing to make safety a priority, it is appalling that these operations continued to flout fundamental safety and health standards. At the very least, they have failed to conduct their own mine examinations for hazards. Mine operators have a responsibility to provide for the safety and health of the miners they employ, and too many of the mines we inspected are failing to take that responsibility seriously.
It’s apparent we have lots of coal mines in the United States that have poor safety records. The owners and operators of these mines must be held accountable for any injuries or deaths that occur in their mines. Preventive action must be taken by MSHA to correct any existing problems.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor and PR Newswire
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