Vol. 20, No. 6

  • Accidents:
    • Fire Shuts Down Blacksville No. 2 Mine (155)
    • Enlow Fork Longwall Meets Unexpected Gas Well (157)
    • Beaver Valley Mine Hits Uncharted Water Well (157)
  • Americans With Disabilities Act: Miner loses ADA claim by failing to respond to motion (157)
  • Benefits: Patriot Coal seeks to end benefits, throw out UMWA contract (158)
  • Budget: MSHA weighs plan to maintain inspections during sequester (158)
  • Discrimination: Panel commends whistle-blowing miner (160)
  • Electrical Standards: 8th Circuit sides with Northshore Mining in shovel case (160)
  • Fatalities:
    • Roof fall causes 5th coal mining death in W.Va. this year (161)
    • No contributory violations found after fractured leg proves fatal (162)
    • Loose rock concealed deadly brink in underground Newmont gold mine (166)
  • General News: MSHA publishes new Coal Mine Inspection Handbook (167)
  • Inspections: MSHA’s January impact inspections uncovered more than 250 alleged violations (168)
  • Legislation: Patriot bankruptcy heightens effort to protect retired-miner benefits (171)
  • Mine Rescue: Report calls for new strategies, training and equipment for mine rescue (173)
  • Mine Seals: MSHA suspends approval for 50 psi Minova Gob Isolation Tekseal design (173)
  • On the Move: Head of Justice Dept. Civil Rights Div. may head Labor Dept. (174)
  • Review Commission Orders and ALJ Decisions (175)

Update on Fire at Blacksville Mine

MSHA met with mine management and UMWA officials this morning to discuss plans moving forward. As of 8:00 a.m. EDT, the company had induced approximately 125,000 gallons of water into a borehole to attempt to create a water seal and cut off oxygen to the fire. This process is ongoing. There are four additional proposed boreholes at this point, each of which will be between 1,000 and 1,200 feet in depth. When the No. 1 borehole is through, they will drop a camera to see if they can detect the extent of the fire.

Vol. 20, No. 5

  • Accident: MSHA properly issued 103(k) order for smoldering coal stockpile (128)
  • Black Lung:
    • Dependent’s benefits properly denied where miner diagnosed with COPD (129)
    • Miner with 40% disability and black lung properly denied disability benefits. (130)
    • Miner died from heart disease, despite 77% disability from black lung. (131)
  • Budget: MSHA sees cutbacks of inspections and investigations under “sequester” (131)
  • Civil Penalties: New Hampshire quarry operator continues to rebuff penalty payments (132)
  • Combustible Accumulations: Commissioners hear arguments on Willow Lake citations and orders (133)
  • Criminal Proceedings:
    • Massey executive pleads guilty to conspiracy charges (136)
    • Miner posing as a certified electrician charged with falsifying documents (136)
    • Court reschedules sentencing of Bryant Massingale due to on-going criminal trial (137)
  • Discrimination:
    • Miner awarded $154,000 in back pay and attorney fees (137)
    • Commission upholds temporary reinstatement of Cobra miner (137)
    • ALJ orders reinstatement of miner at ISP Minerals; denies company motion to lay-off miner (138)
  • Fatalities:
    • Army veteran is second fatality in 2 weeks at Affinity Mine (139)
    • Plywood-and-board platform broke underfoot in deadly fall at Pinto Valley (140)
    • No MSHA violations in fatality from scoop driver’s restricted view (142)
    • Death in confined space was from natural causes, MSHA decides (144)
  • Jurisdiction: Commission has authority to decide constitutional questions and Mine Act jurisdiction (144)
  • Loading and Hauling: Commission reverses ALJ finding of no violation in truck crash (145)
  • On the Move:
    • MSHA announces changes in West Virginia coal offices (146)
    • Committee leaders finalized for 113th Congress (146)
  • Private Suits: Wrongful death claim settled from 2010 fatality at Clover Fork mine (146)
  • Settlements: ALJ certifies question of settlement authority for interlocutory review (147)
  • Workers’ Compensation:
    • Miner can sue manager for injuries caused by willful and wanton misconduct (148)
    • New York court reinstates miner’s claim where company failed to provide fall protection or platform (149)
  • Review Commission Orders and ALJ Decisions (150)