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A busy April for MSHA inspectors

miningAmong the 16 special impact inspections conducted by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in April was one at the Alcoa World Alumina LLC's Bayer Alumina Plant in Calhoun County, Texas, which resulted in 27 citations and seven orders.

Among the hazardous conditions found at that worksite:

  • failure to provide safety chains or other suitable locking devices connecting high-pressure hose lines, which created a potential hazard for flying material
  • failure to maintain guards on various pumps, which exposed miners to potentially disabling injuries from moving machine parts.

Additionally, inspectors found large pieces of metal slag dropping from an overhead structure, creating a falling material hazard, and they noted the absence of warning signs to alert miners about high-voltage areas. The mine operator also was cited for failure to conduct adequate workplace examinations, during which hazards should be identified and fixed.

In total, federal inspectors inspectors issued 147 citations and 15 orders during the special impact inspections, which were conducted at 12 coal mines and four metal and nonmetal mines.

The monthly inspections, which began in force in April 2010 following the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine, involve mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to their poor compliance history or particular compliance concerns.

MSHA's Monthly Impact Inspections List for April 2014 is now available online.

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