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MSHA Identified Over120 Safety, Health Violations at 9 mines in 7 States

MSHA Identified Over 120 Safety, Health Violations at 9 Mines in 7 States

Nov. 1, 2023
“Given the troubling increase in fatalities this year, MSHA again calls on everyone in the mining community to pay close attention to hazards and conditions that put miners’ health and safety at risk,” said Chris Williamson.

On Oct. 30,  the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) completed impact inspections at 9 mines in 7 states in September, issuing 123 violations.

Begun after a 2010 explosion killed 29 miners in West Virginia at the Upper Big Branch Mine, monthly impact inspections are conducted at mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to poor compliance history; previous accidents, injuries, and illnesses; and other compliance concerns.

To date, MSHA’s impact inspections in 2023 have identified 2,092 violations, including 604 significant and substantial or S&S and 40 unwarrantable failure findings. An S&S violation is one reasonably likely to cause a reasonably serious injury or illness. Violations designated as unwarrantable failures occur when an inspector finds aggravated conduct that constitutes more than ordinary negligence.

Of the 123 violations identified by MSHA in September, 17 were evaluated as S&S.

The agency completed September’s inspections at mines in Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia.

“The September impact inspections underscore that mine operators need to remain vigilant in ensuring the health and safety of miners,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson, in a statement. “We remain deeply concerned that inspectors continue to find repeat violations that we’ve identified as root causes in other fatal mining accidents, including inadequate workplace examinations and lack of training.

“Given the troubling increase in fatalities this year, MSHA again calls on everyone in the mining community to pay close attention to hazards and conditions that put miners’ health and safety at risk,” Williamson added.

Among the mines inspected in September was the Marblehead Aggregates quarry in Marblehead, Ohio. Selected given its previous enforcement history, the mine is operated by Holcim Quarries NY Inc. The inspection identified 25 violations, including 6 S&S. Specifically, MSHA inspectors found the following conditions existed at the mine:

  • Failure to conduct adequate workplace examinations. Inadequate examinations have contributed to fatal mine accidents and disabling injuries and have been identified as a root cause in a number of the fatalities the mining industry has suffered this year. MSHA has placed a priority on improving workplace examinations including the identification, correction and documentation of hazardous conditions, to ensure miners’ safety and health. 
  • Other hazards that led to S&S violations, some of which were also repeat violations, related to the operator’s failure to install and maintain guards; provide or maintain a safe means of access to various work areas around the mine; maintain working areas free from slip, trip and fall hazards; and provide berms at the appropriate height along the edge of a roadway with a steep drop-off into a pond.
About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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