MSHA fines Kentucky operator over mine ignition

KENTUCKY miner J&R Coal Inc has been fined $US139,300 for safety violations contributing to a methane ignition at its No. 7 mine in Letcher County during September last year.

Angie Tomlinson

One miner suffered serious injuries in the ignition, which occurred as he was drilling a borehole.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration found that the accident occurred as a result of the operator’s high negligence. The fines MSHA has proposed for safety violations contributing to this accident include:

  • failure to install line and box check curtains as required by the ventilation plan, $42,500;
  • failure to perform an adequate pre-shift examination, $42,500;
  • failure to maintain methane detectors in proper operating condition, $18,100;
  • failure to conduct tests for methane, $18,100; and
  • failure to conduct an on-shift exam to ensure compliance with respirable dust control parameters, $18,100.

MSHA can assess fines ranging from $60 to $60,000 per violation depending on the nature of the violation, level of negligence and several legal factors.

J&R Coal has 30 days to appeal the proposed fines.