Myriad problems found in PA mine

THE US Mine Safety and Health Administration has stated a Pennsylvania anthracite mine where a worker died last October had committed “flagrant violations” of federal mine laws and has rescinded its operation permit.

Donna Schmidt

Dale Reightler, 43, a 25-year mining veteran, died at R&D Coal’s Buck Mountain Slope mine in eastern Pennsylvania on October 23, 2006 after a methane gas explosion.

According to a report released this week by MSHA, the mine was also found to have insufficient ventilation and improper pre-shift inspections. Unsafe blasting was also cited because those conducting the work on the day of the accident were not qualified to do so and had detonated explosives before others had a chance to relocate to a safer area.

“R&D Coal Co Inc failed to observe basic mine safety practices and violated critical safety standards. As a result, a miner tragically lost his life," MSHA assistant secretary of labor Richard Stickler said in a statement.

According to various media reports Monday, 22 state violations were also uncovered at the operation near Philadelphia.

R&D Coal is the first producer to be cited under new flagrant violations laws instituted by MSHA that now can see fines jump as high as $US220,000.

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