"This review remains ongoing," the statement said.
On Friday, MSHA officials refused to provide copies of the reporting citations, making it impossible to describe the nature of each alleged violation in any specific detail. Agency spokeswoman Amy Louviere said MSHA would not disclose those records without a formal Freedom of Information Act request, which would take more time to process. Louviere said officials with knowledge about the violations could not be reached Friday to answer questions about them.
Such violations could range from not reporting accidents or injuries that occur to simply not properly updating the information to describe when miners return to work after accidents.
Federal rules require that mine operators report a variety of information, including data about mining accidents, numbers of employees and hours worked, and coal production. Data generated is used not only to monitor industry activity more generally, but to measure safety performance at particular mines and corporate parents and to target enforcement at troubled operations.
MSHA's general policy is to conduct a "Part 50 Audit" -- named for the section of the federal regulations involved -- after all coal-mining deaths.
After nine fatal accidents at Massey operations between January 2000 and the April 5 Upper Big Branch disaster, MSHA inspectors cited a total of 20 reporting violations.
A year before the disaster, MSHA cited Upper Big Branch for three other reporting violations. In each instance, Massey did not report "return to duty" information required by the regulations. The company paid $100 fines for each citation, but all three violations are among the hundreds of problems at Upper Big Branch being examined by a federal criminal investigation, records show.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.