3 Kentucky Miners Accused of Violating Mine Safety Act

September 26, 2008

Three eastern Kentucky miners are indicted on two counts each of violating the federal Mine Safety Act.

Ira Sergent, Johnny Osborne and Reggie Raleigh worked at the Stillhouse Mining No. 1 Mine in Harlan County, Ky. The violations came in December 2006, according to a federal indictment filed in London on Sept. 24.

Each miner is charged with allowing the mine’s main fan to be shut off for about six hours while work continued. The second count charges each miner with making a ventilation change without cutting the power and moving workers out of the mine.

Each man faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. It wasn’t clear whether the men had attorneys. There were none listed in court records.

Harry Childress, a spokesman for mine owner Cumberland Resources Corp. of Wise, Va., declined to comment on the indictments.

Stillhouse Mining was fined $760,000 by the Mine Safety and Health Administration in 2007 for the violations in the indictment. The agency called them “flagrant violations” that could have resulted in fatalities. The company is contesting the fines.

The same mine was the site of a roof collapse that killed two miners in August 2005.

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