The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration today announced that federal inspectors issued 147 citations and 15 orders during special impact inspections conducted at 12 coal mines and four metal and nonmetal mines in April.
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. The inspection details of one of the mines are listed below:
MSHA began an impact inspection on April 7 at Alcoa World Alumina LLC's Bayer Alumina Plant in Calhoun County, Texas. Inspectors issued 27 citations and seven orders to the mine operator.
Among the hazardous conditions cited were the operator's failure to: provide safety chains or other suitable locking devices connecting high-pressure hose lines, which created a potential hazard for flying material, and maintain guards on various pumps, which exposed miners to potentially disabling injuries from moving machine parts. Inspectors found large pieces of metal slag dropping from an overhead structure, creating a falling material hazard, and they noted the absence of warning signs to alert miners about high-voltage areas.
The mine operator also was cited for failure to conduct adequate workplace examinations, during which hazards should be identified and fixed.