Three times in a month, regulators have caught West Virginia coal companies illegally warning miners that federal inspectors were onsite.
Mine Safety and Health Administration director Joe Main says such warnings let workers disguise conditions that could endanger their lives. And he repeated his assertion during a congressional hearing this week that current penalties aren’t high enough to deter the practice.
Main says one incident occurred at Gateway Eagle Coal Co.’s Sugar Maple Mine in Boone County on March 22. That inspection resulted in 14 violations.
On Feb. 29, Main says advance warning was given at Rhino Eastern LLC’s Eagle No. 2 Mine in Wyoming County. Citations were issued there over roof control and ventilation plans.
The third occurred Feb. 13 at Metinvest B V’s Affinity Mine in Raleigh County.
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