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W.Va. man charged with faking a mine foreman's license

May 2, 2013 at 2:21 PM

CHARLESTON, W.Va., May 2 (UPI) -- A West Virginia coal miner was charged with faking a foreman's certification as he performed safety checks at four operations for 18 months, court records show.

A grand jury handed up an indictment this week charging Craig Belcher, 36, of Bluefield, with four counts of providing a false statement in U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration documents, The Charleston Gazette reported Wednesday.

The indictment alleges Belcher faked having a foreman's certificate between January 2009 and July 2010 while working for several coal operators at their mine sites in Fayette, Wyoming and McDowell counties.

The indictment alleged Belcher signed pre- and on-shift reports indicating he examined specific sections of each mining operation, the Gazette said. It charged Belcher wasn't certified as a foreman when the reports were completed and that he falsified foreman's certificate numbers on the safety reports by using license numbers that weren't his.

West Virginia requires training and certification for underground and surface miners, while requiring foremen to take separate training and obtain a separate license, the Gazette said. Mine foremen not only supervise other workers, but also perform safety checks and sign required reports documenting that problems found are corrected before miners begin work.

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