The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced that federal inspectors issued 262 citations, 19 orders and three safeguards during special impact inspections conducted at eight coal mines and five metal/nonmetal mines last month.
The five metal/nonmetal mines were Art Wilson Co., Nevada; Damascas 535 Quarry and Stone Products LLC, Pennsylvania; Cedar Ridge Quarries, Arkansas; Nyrstar Gordonsville, Tennessee; and Asarco LLC, Arizona.
The monthly inspections, which began in force in April 2010, following the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine, involve mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to their poor compliance history or particular compliance concerns, including high numbers of violations or closure orders; frequent hazard complaints or hotline calls; plan compliance issues; inadequate workplace examinations; a high number of accidents, injuries or illnesses; fatalities; and adverse conditions such as increased methane liberation, faulty roof conditions and inadequate ventilation.
"Mine operators have an obligation under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act to conduct thorough examinations of workplaces and equipment to find and fix hazards to protect miners," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "A failure to do so can expose miners to injury, illness and death. MSHA takes these failures to comply seriously and, on Aug. 6, issued new rules requiring more thorough operator examinations."
Since April 2010, MSHA has conducted 477 impact inspections, which have resulted in a total of 8,545 citations, 852 orders and 36 safeguards.