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MSHA inspection blitz finds violations at 25 mines


Photo: U.S. Department of Labor

Washington — The Mine Safety and Health Administration uncovered hundreds of violations at mines with concerning compliance histories during recent impact inspections.

According to an MSHA press release, the 25 mines in 17 states that MSHA inspected “merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to factors that include poor compliance history; previous accidents, injuries and illnesses; and other compliance concerns.”

In January and February, MSHA issued 374 violations and two safeguard notices. Violations included 113 designated as “significant and substantial” – or reasonably likely to trigger a serious injury or illness – as well as 13 findings of “unwarrantable failure,” which result “when an inspector finds aggravated conduct that constitutes more than ordinary negligence.”

MSHA head Chris Williamson says the serious violations uncovered demonstrate the importance of impact inspections as an enforcement tool to address safety and health issues at mines with poor compliance histories.

“[MSHA] is focused on identifying conditions that can lead to serious accidents, given the number of fatalities the mining industry has experienced so far this year,” Williamson said in the release. “We will continue to use every tool that Congress gave us to protect miners’ safety and health, and we ask the entire mining community to work with us to eliminate safety and health hazards that can cost miners their lives.”

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