"The Liberty plant provided fall protection equipment and training to its employees before the accident occurred, and has since added more equipment such as locating fall protection harnesses on each level of the plant," said Alpha spokesman Ted Pile. "Proper equipment and instruction reduces the risk that a similar fall will occur in the future."
MSHA does not license or regulate mine foremen, and can issue citations to individual workers only for violations of the ban on smoking and smoking materials in underground mines.
The state mine safety office, which regulates mine foremen in West Virginia, did not issue any personal citations to Maynard following its investigation of Dolin's death, office spokeswoman Leslie Fitzwater has said. The state report was issued in August 2012, four months ahead of the MSHA report.
"There's a huge different between the federal and the state reports," said Joel Watts, the mine safety board administrator. "The foreman is not mentioned in the state report."
When asked about the conflicting reports during a public meeting Thursday, White said that state inspectors did not find any evidence that Maynard had done what MSHA alleged.
"We have no record of him holding the ladder," White said. "We knew he was around the area, but the information that our investigation team collected did not indicate he held the ladder. He might have walked by. We would have addressed that issue if we were aware of it."
White said that MSHA might have discovered evidence the state was not aware of, perhaps during what federal officials call a "special investigation," a probe that would have excluded state investigators.
"When MSHA issued this [report], that was the first time we became aware of this," White said.
White said his office re-examined audiotapes of witness interviews, but had not asked MSHA where it got its information about the foreman. White said state officials would now contact MSHA and perhaps reinterview witnesses in the case.
Independence, the Alpha unit that operates the Liberty plant, was among the sites that Alpha inherited when it purchased Massey Energy in June 2011. Alpha officials have promoted their company safety program, "Running Right," as the solution to improving health-and-safety performance, especially at the former Massey operations.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.