Under state law, Alpha could have been fined up to $10,000 for the violation.
Eugene White, director of the state mine safety office, said his agency assessed a proposed fine of $6,000. Alpha has not decided whether it will appeal, a company spokesman said.
In its investigation report, the state mine safety office noted that it found a second scoop vehicle that had been modified, with a welder and tool boxes mounted to the top of the scoop. State inspectors issued an "imminent danger" order, saying the modification "poses a hazard to persons in the vicinity of the scoop."
MSHA noted in its report that O'Dell was the second miner killed at the Pocahontas Mine in an accident involving being hit with mobile underground equipment.
The previous death occurred in July 2010, when Massey Energy owned the operation. Wilbert Starcher, a 60-year-old electrician, was killed when he was run over by a shuttle car. Federal investigators concluded that death occurred because the shuttle car "had an improper sideboard installed between the operator's deck and the bed of the shuttle car."
The sideboard was intended to prevent coal from spilling into the operator's deck, but it "severely limited the field of vision of the shuttle car operator," MSHA said in its report.
During the investigation of O'Dell's death, MSHA said that its inspectors observed Alpha mine management wearing battery-powered strobe lights that would help workers see each other underground.
"Mine management was questioned concerning the use of this type of personal protective equipment," the MSHA report said. "The majority of mine management felt it was important to wear strobe lights to increase visibility of miners, but did not require that all miners wear the strobes."
MSHA issued a "safeguard order" to require the use of strobe lights at the mine.
"The recommendations that MSHA made following the accident have all be implemented," said Alpha spokesman Ted Pile. "We've remained in touch with Steven O'Dell's wife and family since this tragic accident and we continue to extend our sympathies."
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.