By TIM HUBER AP Business Writer CHARLESTON, W.Va.
Massey Energy Co. was cited for more than 80 safety violations uncovered in the latest round of special inspections targeting troubled mines in the United States, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration said this week.
The Massey citations are among 166 issued at eight mines in five states during special inspections in February, MSHA said.
“MSHA has been conducting these targeted inspections for nearly a year and, while some operators have been responsive and showed a willingness to change, others continue to commit the same serious violations,” director Joe Main said in a statement.
The agency started the so-called impact inspections after 29 miners died in an explosion at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia on April 5, 2010.
Two Massey mines in West Virginia and one each in Virginia and Kentucky accounted for more than half the violations issued nationally during impact inspections last month. MSHA also cited three non-Massey coal mines in Kentucky and Alabama and a stone quarry in Pennsylvania.
“We treat citations seriously and we are working diligently to constantly improve safety at our operations,” said Jeff Gillenwater, a spokesman for Richmond, Va.-based Massey.
MSHA said it issued 43 citations at Massey subsidiary Process Energy’s No. 1 mine in Pike County, Ky. Nearly 42 percent involved so-called significant and substantial violations considered more likely to result in injuries, MSHA said.
At the other three Massey operations, the rate of serious violations was above 60 percent, MSHA said. That included 11 serious violations cited at subsidiary Elk Run Coal’s Seng Creek Powellton mine about 40 miles south of Charleston in Boone County.
MSHA singled out a small Kentucky coal mine for criticism after the latest round of inspections. Inspectors found D&C Mining in Harlan County, Ky., operating without a mandatory emergency shelter and violations such as not following its ventilation plan for controlling coal dust.
A message left at D&C’s Virginia headquarters was not immediately returned.