Kentucky Mine Operator Hit with $360,000 in Fines

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has fined a Kentucky mine operator $360,000 for safety violations that allegedly contributed to the deaths of two miners at Stillhouse Mining LLC's No. 1 mine in Harlan County, Ky., on Aug. 3, 2005.

Two miners died when a section of the roof fell during retreat mining.

A section foreman and a scoop operator suffered fatal injuries following the roof fall. MSHA cited the company for three failures to comply with the approved roof-control plan, failure to adequately support or control the roof in an area where miners worked or traveled, failure to correct known hazardous conditions or post the area with warnings and failure to provide the scoop operator with task training in the operation of mobile roof support units.

The fines MSHA has assessed for safety violations contributing to this accident are for allegedly failing to:

  • Follow an approved roof control plan (30 CFR 75.220[a][1]), three violations, $60,000 apiece;
  • Adequately support or control roof, (30 CFR 75.220[a]), $60,000;
  • Immediately correct or post alerts regarding hazardous conditions (30 CFR 75.363[a]), $60,000; and
  • Provide adequate task training to a miner (30 CFR 48.7), $60,000.

According to MSHA, Stillhouse Mining was highly negligent for two of the three roof control plan violations and for the training violation. The agency determined the company's reckless disregard resulted in the third roof control plan violation.

MSHA can assess fines ranging from $60 to $60,000 per violation depending on the nature of the violation, level of negligence and several legal factors.

Stillhouse Mining has 30 days to appeal the fines.

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