Safety vice president Rick Waddell told the Associated Press the loss of two of the company’s men in two separate accidents over two weeks this month was devastating.
While the executive did not detail the mine’s specific plans, he told the AP that the Tennessee-based operator was encouraging miners to conduct constructive and frank discussions of the incidents that had occurred with United’s senior management crew.
On February 7, Edward Finney was killed at the company’s Pocahontas Coal Affinity operation in West Virginia.
The utility man was in the deck of a scoop as two miners were unloading trash from the metal scoop bucket insert onto the hoist for removal from the mine.
The scoop bucket was positioned over the hoist deck and the hoist suddenly elevated, causing the scoop to lift up.
The two miners who were unloading the trash were able to run to safety.
As the hoist elevated, the scoop slipped away from the hoist deck, causing it crash onto the mine floor.
During the accident, the scoop operator cleared the operator's deck and was found with fatal crushing injuries beneath the scoop.
On February 14, shuttlecar operator John Myles, 44, was killed after being hit by a scoop as he was shoveling coal ribs.
He was unconscious when he was transported from the mine to Raleigh County general hospital in Beckley following the evening accident, though he succumbed to his injuries at the medical center.
Affinity and United are under the umbrella of Russian miner and steelmaker Metinvest BV.
Affinity employs a total of 214 workers.
It has received 61 federal enforcement actions from the US Mine Safety and Health Administration so far in 2013. All are still unassessed, according to federal records.