HAZARD – Another Perry County mine was cited by the Mine Safety and Health Administration during the agency’s latest round of impact inspections in March.
The operator at Perry County Coal’s E3-1 mine near Hazard was issued 38 citations and 16 unwarrantable failure orders as federal inspectors conducted an inspection of the mine’s second shift on March 13, according to an MSHA press release.
Citations were issued 14 times for accumulations of combustible materials, which MSHA says were “extensive in all mine areas where inspectors traveled,” including mechanized mining units, belt conveyors, track entries and equipment. Inspectors noted that at one mining unit, materials such as loose coal, coal dust and float coal dust were dry to the touch and “no effort had been made to control the dust, apply rock dust or remove the accumulations.”
“It was evident that combustible materials had been allowed to accumulate for several shifts,” the agency said.
High levels of combustible materials can, in concert with other conditions such as high methane liberation, potentially cause a mine fire or explosion.
“The operator did not comply with a wide range of standards and demonstrated overall noncompliance with mine safety and health regulations intended to protect miners and provide for safe and healthful working conditions,” according to MSHA.
Additional citations and orders were issued for alleged failure to comply with the roof control plan, as well as to maintain belt rollers and conveyor belts, firefighting equipment and deluge water sprays, and permissible electric face equipment. The operator also was cited regarding inadequate examinations for hazards that inspectors noted had clearly existed for some time with no effort taken to correct them.
In all, nine coal mines in five states were issued a total of 187 citations, 25 orders and two safeguards during MSHA’s March impact inspections, which began shortly after the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in West Virginia in April 2010. Mines involved in the inspections include those that the agency says merit increase attention and enforcement due to several issues, including “poor compliance history or particular compliance concerns.
Two other mines were also cited by MSHA earlier this year. Perry County Coal’s E4-1 mine received 35 citations in January, while Frasure Creek’s No. 6 surface mine was cited 22 times in February.