MSHA Fines Kentucky Coal Operator

March 27, 2006
The Mine Safety and Health Administration has proposed fines of $139,300 against a Kentucky mine operator for alleged safety violations that contributed to a methane ignition at a coal mine on Sept. 12, 2005.

The incident, which occurred at J&R Coal Inc.'s No. 7 mine in Letcher County, Ky., left one miner seriously injuried. The miner was drilling a borehole at the time of the incident.

According to MSHA, the accident occurred as a result of the operator's negligence. The fines MSHA has proposed stem from J&R Coal's alleged failure to:

  • Install line and box check curtains as required by the ventilation plan ($42,500);
  • Perform an adequate pre-shift examination ($42,500);
  • Maintain methane detectors in proper operating condition ($18,100);
  • Conduct tests for methane ($18,100); and
  • Conduct an on-shift exam to ensure compliance with breathable dust control parameters ($18,100).

"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 MSHA Acting Administrator David Dye. "MSHA will assess strong penalties, as in this case, when miners suffer injuries because the operator failed to provide safe working conditions."

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