Harlan County coal mine fined after miner death
LOUISVILLE (AP) — A Harlan County coal mine where a miner was killed was fined more than a half-million dollars Thursday.
The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration said operators of Manalapan Mining Co. Inc.’s P-1 Mine near Smith, failed to support the sides of rock pillars in locations in the mine, including where the accident happened.
MSHA said the mine also failed to identify and correct numerous other hazardous conditions involving the mine roof and pillars, The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/Mkvzkf) reported.
Regulators also charged that the mine didn’t have an adequate roof control plan to address changing geological conditions and properly support the sides of the mine pillars, or ribs.
“Dozens of miners are injured by rib and roof falls every year and, tragically, some are killed,” MSHA chief Joseph A. Main said in a statement. “The accident investigation found that, had the mine operator properly secured the mine’s ribs and revised its roof control plan to address changing geologic conditions, this tragedy might have been averted.”
MSHA investigators issued five citations with total proposed penalties of $594,100. The company is contesting the fines.
A section of rock that was nearly 7 feet long, 3 feet wide and 11 inches thick hit David A. Partin, 49, in the June 29, 2011, collapse of a mine rib.
MSHA’s accident investigation report said inspectors found unsupported sections of loose coal and rock in three locations in the mine.
MSHA’s safety database shows the mine is currently listed as non-producing. It last produced coal in the second quarter of last year and had 64 employees at that time. It currently lists two employees.
Three mine officials and the company were indicted in February for allegedly allowing miners to work in dangerous conditions. The company has disputed the charges.
Indicted in addition to the company were the mine operator, Jefferson Davis, 53, of Harlan; mine superintendent Joseph Miniard, 45, of Smith; and mine foreman Bryant Massingale, 52, of Cawood.