Kentucky Officials Warn Over Mine Collapses

July 8, 2010

State mine safety workers are meeting face-to-face with coal miners at the job site to urge them to be vigilant about potential underground collapses, which have killed four miners in Kentucky this year.

Mine Safety and Licensing Director Johnny Greene said he has pulled two-dozen mine safety analysts off their regular duties to meet with groups of workers going into or coming out of the mines.

“I have searched and thought about how we can stop this,” Greene said in a phone interview. “It’s alarming and I’m trying to figure out how to make it better.”

Greene said the goal is to meet with every underground miner in Kentucky. He said they will be told about the deadly collapses that have happened this year and to watch for potentially hazardous underground conditions.

Safety analysts began the meetings about two weeks ago, and should be finished making the rounds by the end of the week, Greene said.

Franklin Reed, Greene’s director of safety analysis said miners are being urged to “pay close attention to the roof conditions in their immediate work area at all times.”

Greene said the state’s safety analysts typically go into mines and observe workers on the job, advising them on good safety habits.

Greene said he wants no more mining deaths in 2010.

Underground collapses have killed four miners in Kentucky this year.

A collapse at the Abner Branch mine in Leslie County killed 29-year-old Travis Brock in January. Two miners, 27-year-old Justin Travis and 28-year-old Michael Carter, were killed in a rock fall inside the Dotiki mine in Hopkins County in late April.

The latest underground collapse death occurred last month, when 42-year-old Jim Carmack was hit by a falling steel beam at the Clover Fork Mine No. 1 in Harlan County.

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