MSHA News Release: [03/15/2006]
Contact: Dirk Fillpot Amy Louviere
Phone: (202) 693-9406 (202) 693-9423
Release Number 06-489-NAT
MSHA Proposes Fines of $139,300 against Kentucky Operator after Mine Ignition
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) today announced proposed fines of $139,300 against a Kentucky mine operator for safety violations contributing to a methane ignition at J&R Coal Inc.'s No. 7 mine in Letcher County, Ky., Sept. 12, 2005. One miner suffered serious injuries in the ignition which occurred as he was drilling a borehole.
"The safety and health of miners must be protected every day. The failure of any mine operator to provide safe working conditions carries a high risk for their miners and will not be tolerated," said David G. Dye, MSHA's acting administrator. "MSHA will assess strong penalties, as in this case, when miners suffer injuries because the operator failed to provide safe working conditions."
MSHA found that the accident occurred as a result of the operator's high negligence. The fines MSHA has proposed for safety violations contributing to this accident are as follows:
- failure to install line and box check curtains as required by the ventilation plan, $42,500;
- failure to perform an adequate pre-shift examination, $42,500;
- failure to maintain methane detectors in proper operating condition, $18,100;
- failure to conduct tests for methane, $18,100;
- failure to conduct an on-shift exam to ensure compliance with respirable dust control parameters, $18,100.
J&R Coal has 30 days to appeal the proposed fines.
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