White's agency has not come up with a definition of how many violations or accidents over a particular period of time constitutes a "pattern of conduct" and is leaving that up to staff to determine on a case-by-case basis.
"It's not something that is shot out of a computer," White said.
White said he wants a state inspector to turn to the "pattern of conduct" provision only when "he feels like he has done all he can."
White said that, for now, he would prefer not to report mine operators to the training board, and wants his agency and its inspectors to try to address any problems they find at mining operations.
"My whole thing is, before going to the training board, trying to get a mine back on track," White said. "Personally, I think we fail as an agency if we run to the training board as if there's nothing we can do."
In the past few months, the Tomblin administration's lack of action to implement the state's new mine safety law has come under additional scrutiny, especially following four coal-mining deaths that occurred during a two-week period last month.
State officials have delayed implementing new methane monitoring requirements, have not begun enforcing new coal-dust control standards and are not yet issuing increased fines for safety and health violations.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.