MSHA hits more coal mines in May with impact inspections

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration on June 26 issued its latest monthly list of impact inspections, in this case for May, with Kentucky coal producer Tram Energy LLC picked out as the latest example.

MSHA said that in May, federal inspectors issued 186 citations and nine orders during special impact inspections conducted at nine coal mines and five metal/nonmetal mines. The monthly inspections, which began in force in April 2010 following the explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia, involve mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to their alleged poor compliance history or particular compliance concerns.

As an example from May, MSHA said it conducted an impact inspection during the May 8 evening shift at the Tram Energy LLC #1 operation in Floyd County, Ky., during which inspectors issued 23 citations and six unwarrantable failure orders. These include mining without required dust controls in place, failure to conduct adequate belt examinations, damaged conveyor belt structure and accumulations of combustible materials. On May 21, an additional 104(d)(2) order was issued for failure to conduct adequate examinations of the electrical mining equipment. As a result, the entire underground portion of the mine was shut down until May 30.

MSHA said there were a number of other problems found at the Tram Energy mine. Notable is that MSHA findings are routinely appealed by coal companies to a federal mine safety commission. Other impact inspections were done in May at various other coal mines, including mines controlled by major producers CONSOL Energy, Alpha Natural Resources, Patriot Coal and Rosebud Mining.

Since April 2010, MSHA said it has conducted 616 impact inspections and issued 10,483 citations, 970 orders and 44 safeguards.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.