West Virginia Cites 45 Violations After 2 Deaths at Mine

By VICKI SMITH | February 28, 2013

State inspectors have issued 45 violations at a West Virginia coal mine since two men died there, including one for negligently rigging the switch on a hoist with a piece of wood and a rusty bolt.

Edward Finney of Bluefield, Va., died at Pocahontas Coal’s Affinity Mine near Sophia on Feb. 7, when he was pinned under a hoist he’d been moving trash into. Hoists are used to move miners and supplies between the surface and underground operations.

After Finney’s death, an inspection found a newly installed switch on the service hoist had been improperly installed. The inspector called it a serious violation indicating “an extremely high degree of negligence.”

Tennessee-based United Coal Co. owns Pocahontas Coal. It didn’t immediately comment Tuesday but has said it’s cooperating with investigators.

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