Alpha frequently touts its "Running Right" safety program, and has been promoting safety improvements at the former Massey operations since it took them over last year.
At the two Kingston operations, total citations issued by MSHA inspectors doubled between 2009 and 2011. Total fines assessed by MSHA jumped from $63,000 to $334,000 over that same period of time, according to federal agency records.
Safety violations and fines increased at the same time that Alpha was increasing production at Kinston No. 2 from 324,000 tons in 2009 to 524,000 tons last year.
Combined, the two mines had a violation rate per inspection day that was slightly worse than the national average over the last 15 months, according to MSHA's online rating system.
At Kingston No. 1, 56-year-old roof bolting machine operator William R. Dooley was killed in a roof fall that occurred at about 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 11, 2010.
MSHA inspectors concluded that the company had not properly analyzed roof conditions at the operation or adequately protected workers from adverse roof conditions. The company was fined $35,000 for two MSHA violations, records show.
Bearse formerly headed Massey's Freedom Mining, a Kentucky mine that was targeted by MSHA for a first-of-its-kind federal court injunction because of its repeated and serious safety violations.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.