"Despite considerable training, there have been recent instances where our miners were not doing the right thing as they had been trained to do," said Massey CEO Don Blankenship. "The idling of production reinforces our philosophy that safety is first and production is second."
After MSHA's inspection at the Seng Creek Mine, Massey said it had fired a foreman and two hourly workers and suspended nine miners for three days. The company called the situation at the mine "very frustrating and totally unacceptable."
And last week, Massey alerted shareholders that its Cloverlick Coal Co., in Harlan County, Ky., had received an imminent-danger order from MSHA after a construction contractor was caught standing on the edge of the slanted metal roof of a shop building in a body hardness that was not tied off.
Nonunion Massey is not the only company being hit with repeated citations in MSHA's impact inspections.
Patriot Coal Co.'s Federal No. 2 Mine, a unionized operation in Monongalia County, has been targeted in three rounds of inspection sweeps since April. The mine's total number of violations has increased, as has the share of the violations deemed significant by agency inspectors.
Federal No. 2 is also under federal criminal investigation because of allegations of falsified safety examinations at the mine, but MSHA did not mention that operation in its news release about the agency inspection sweep.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.