Federal inspectors for the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration issued 172 citations, 21 orders and two safeguards during special impact inspections conducted at 10 coal mines and two metal and nonmetal mines in May.
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. The inspection details of one of the mines are listed below:
MSHA began an impact inspection on May 13 at BCJ Sand and Rock Inc. in Butte County, California. MSHA inspectors issued 19 citations and 17 orders to the mine operator.
Conveyer cleaned while belt in motion
Among the hazardous conditions cited was the operator's failure to properly store an oxygen cylinder, which created a potential fire or explosion hazard. The mine operator failed to repair a haul truck operating with six severely damaged tires. The plant manager, who is considered a miner, continued to access the mine site without receiving the mandatory new miner training, despite being previously cited for this violation. The mining company continued production operations in the face of an unwarrantable failure order that had not been abated, and it also allowed miners to clean the tail pulley of the main feed conveyor while the belt was in motion, a hazard that can injure or kill miners.
UBB tragedy's legacy
Since April 2010, MSHA has conducted 767 impact inspections and issued 12,441 citations, 1,145 orders and 53 safeguards.
Editor's Note: MSHA's Monthly Impact Inspection List for May 2014 is available online.