Pre-Easter imminent danger order for WV mine

CONSOL Energy’s Loveridge operation in northern West Virginia received an imminent danger order from federal officials just before the Easter holiday due to low oxygen levels in one area of the mine.

Donna Schmidt

According to information obtained by ILN, the condition at the Marion County complex was documented on March 25, given verbally to management and the order was subsequently issued to the producer on March 27.

Oxygen content recorded by an examiner in the Marion County mine in the area of the right return airway from the three North bleeder seals was 18.5%, lower than the regulated 19.5%.

Additionally, the information indicated, two miners traveled inby to a dangered-off area of the right return airway while the oxygen level was non-compliant.

Consol first filed a mandated 8-K report with the US Securities and Exchange Commission late last week confirming the condition, though no information was made available in the document on what caused the order.

The order was abated the same day after miners were cleared from the area and several examinations reflected oxygen levels above 19.5%.

Imminent danger orders are issued by the Mine Safety and Health Administration under section 107(a) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act, also known as the Mine Act.

The Loveridge mine, which employs about 600 workers, produced 5.9 million tons in 2012.

In February, a miner was killed at Loveridge while moving longwall parts with four shield carriers.

Laborer Glen Cutter, 51, was working with others to put derailed shield carriers back on the mine’s track line at the time of the incident.

He had placed an air bag under two of the carriers but the bag didn’t raise the carriers high enough.

Federal officials said the victim used a slate bar to try to move the flange of the wheel over the top of the rail and the load shifted/popped back, causing the bar to fly back and strike the victim’s head.

He was the fifth coal miner to be killed on the job in 2013.

To date, the US has recorded eight mining deaths.

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