U.S. mines agency sends violations letters

March 16, 2009 at 4:55 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 16 (UPI) -- The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration said 15 U.S. mine operators have been told they each have a pattern of violating health and safety standards.

"The 13 coal mines and two metal/nonmetal mines represent the fourth round of mine operators to receive these letters under MSHA's enhanced enforcement initiative," Michael Davis, MSHA's deputy assistant secretary for operations, said Monday in a news release. "Hopefully, these operators will use this opportunity to incorporate needed improvements into their safety and health programs."

A mine operator identified as having a potential pattern of recurrent significant-and-substantial violations at a mine gets notification from MSHA, a division of the Labor Department. The operator can review and comment on documents and develop a corrective action plan to reduce significant-and-substantial violations, which are ones that could be expected to lead to a serious injury or illness.

MSHA will monitor each facility's record during the next 90 days and issue another notice if the improvement falls short of criteria MSHA provides. For each significant-and-substantial violation found, MSHA will issue an order withdrawing miners from the affected area until the cited condition has been corrected, the department said.

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