Vol22, No20

  • Accidents:
    • Fracture to miner’s back at Galena mine is subject of safety alert (414)
    • Mach #1 has 2nd severe caught-between injury from longwall equipment (415)
    • Miner pinned by truck in Elmwood/Gordonsville underground zinc mine (416)
    • Worker pinned by shuttle car at San Juan Mine (417)
    • Breathing loose talc sickens plant employee in Texas mill (417)
    • Miner’s arm amputated in conveyor incident at McNeil Plant & Quarry (418)
    • Gas-powered saw cuts into worker’s torso at Joppa Cement Plant (419)
    • Supervisor burned in the face at Theodore Cement Plant (419)
    • Worker survives trip through feeder at Beverly Materials West Pit (419)
  • Berms and Guardrails: Judge vacates citation for alleged berm violation at Con Agg quarry (420)
  • Black Lung: Coal miner diagnosed with black lung after 7 years in industry (421)
  • Criminal Proceedings: Blankenship free to travel throughout U.S after misdemeanor conviction (421)
  • Discrimination:
    • Case remanded to ALJ where Kingston Mining electrician laid off, not recalled (423)
    • Miner with multiple discrimination cases reinstated to KenAmerican mine (423)
    • Five Murray mines fined $30,000 each for interfering with miners rights (425)
    • Secretary argues he should not seek penalty against successor company (426)
  • Fatalities:
    • MC #1 Mine sees fifth fatality in 7 years (427)
    • Falling tow boom fatal to contractor employee at Davenport Cement Plant (429)
    • Haul truck collision causes death at Barrick Cortez Mine430 Defective weld blamed in death of contract supervisor at Alcoa’s Bayer Plant (431)
  • Pattern of Violations: Judge upholds POV designation for Metinvest’s Affinity Mine (434)
  • Safeguards: Commission upholds Oak Grove safeguard notice, but violation was not S&S (436)
  • Settlements:
    • Family claims their wishes fell on deaf ears in settlement negotiation (437)
    • Judge rejects settlement where Secretary drops fines and imminent danger order (440)
  • Withdrawal Orders: Court upholds finding that fire consultant was an “operator;” upholds (K) order (441)
  • Review Commission Orders and ALJ Decisions (442)

Job Posting: North Carolina Mine Inspector

The State of North Carolina is searching for a mine inspector. Please see details below. Deadline for application is Dec. 11.
JOB CLASS TITLE: Mine Safety & Health Representative
DEPARTMENT: Dept of Labor
DIVISION/SECTION: Standards and Inspections
SALARY RANGE: $42,667.00 – $69,177.00 Annually
APPOINTMENT TYPE: Permanent Full-Time
WORK LOCATION: Edgecombe County
OPENING DATE: 12/07/15
CLOSING DATE: 12/11/15 5:00 PM Eastern Time
Conducts inspections of surface and underground mines (quarries, pits and processing plants) to detect both work and health hazards. Consults with mine management regarding education and training and inspection work necessary to meet the requirements of the Mine Safety and Health Act of North Carolina and the federal Mine Safety and Health Act. Conducts mine safety and health training as required by the Act. Provides technical assistance on a variety of mine safety and health and production issues related to providing a safe workplace. Investigates fatalities, complaints and accidents resulting serious injury as required. Position is located in the northeastern part of the state covering Wake – Edgecombe and surrounding counties.

Candidate must have considerable knowledge of the technical operations and accepted safety and health practices as well as the safety and health law and standards and training regulations governing the mining industry. Must have the working knowledge of the operations involved in the processing of minerals. Must have the ability to communicate in written and oral form. Must have the ability to maintain effective working relationships with mine management officials, miners and the public. Preferred candidate must have the ability to make decisions and recommendations and adapt to changing work environments and assignments; excellent leadership, time management and organizational skills as well as an excellent knowledge of computer systems, and the ability to evaluate and make recommendations of unusual problems, conduct training, perform public speaking engagements and be confident and independent. A valid drivers license is required.

Graduation from a four-year college or university with a degree in geology, mining or geological engineering, or related curriculum and two years of related mining work; or graduation from high school and five years of progressive experience in mining; or an equivalent combination of training and experience. . .

Supplemental & Contact Info:
To apply for this position, please click APPLY link above.
SEE ATTACHED RESUME WILL RESULT IN AN INCOMPLETE APPLICATION. To receive credit, all experience must be included in the work history sections. Any information omitted from the application but included in the resume will not be considered for qualifying credit. Faxed applications will not be accepted.

Persons eligible for veteran preference must submit a copy of Form DD-214.

NCDOL uses the Merit-Based Recruitment and Selection Plan to fill positions subject to the State Personnel Act with the most qualified applicants. When a salary range or recruitment range is posted, the actual salary will be based on relevant competencies, knowledge, skills and abilities, internal equity and budgetary considerations pertinent to the advertised position. All post-high school degrees must be from appropriately accredited institutions.

The State of North Carolina is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Due to the volume of applications received, we are unable to provide information regarding the status of your application over the phone. To check the status of your application, please log in to your account. Processing applications will take an average of 6 – 8 weeks due to the high volume of applications received. It is not necessary to contact the Human Resources Office to check the status of an application. Upon the closing date, applications are “Under Review” and will be screened by Human Resources for the most qualified applicants.

For technical issues with your application, please call the NeoGov Help Line at 855-524-5627. If there are any questions about this posting other than your application status, please contact:

NC Department of Labor
Human Resources Division
Beth Benson


NOTE: Apply to the department listed on posting
An Equal Opportunity Employer, NC State Government
Position #15-10436

Blankenship Found Guilty on Conspiracy Charge

The Associated Press and West Virginia Public Radio are reporting that former Massey CEO Donald Blankenship has been found guilty of a conspiracy charge. For recordings, click the link: Statement of Blankenship Verdict

When asked about the possibility of restitution to the families given the guilty verdict, albeit on one charge, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said, “Restitution is certainly a possibility. It will be determined through the sentencing process.” According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Ruby, Blankenship faces up to one year in prison and a fine could be up to twice the gain or loss that resulted from his conduct.

Statement from U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez on the jury verdict in the trial of Don Blankenship:
“Today’s verdict sends a clear message that no mine operator is above the law, that there must be accountability when people lose their lives because of the neglect of their employer. Workers in this country have the right to go home safe and healthy at the end of every shift, and the jury clearly recognized the violation of that right in this case. I am grateful for the work of the Department of Justice, including U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and his team, in its investigation and prosecution of this landmark case, and we stand ready to assist the Department of Justice in future cases to protect and defend the safety of our nation’s workers. I also applaud the efforts of DOL staff in the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the office of the Solicitor of Labor and the Office of the Inspector General for their work on the investigation, and their tireless commitment every day to protecting workers’ rights.”

Statement From the United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil E. Roberts:
“A measure of justice has been served through the conviction of Don Blankenship on federal charges of conspiring to violate mine safety standards. The truth that was common knowledge in the coalfields – that Don Blankenship cared little for the safety and health of miners working for his company and even less for the laws enforcing their rights – has finally been proven in court.
This decision will not bring back the 52 people killed on Massey Energy property during Blankenship’s reign as the head of that company, including the 29 killed at the Upper Big Branch disaster in 2010. Their families still must live without their loved ones, holding their grief in their hearts the rest of their lives. But a message has gone out today to every coal operator in America who is willing to skirt mine safety and health laws: you do so at your own personal risk. I thank the jury for having the courage to send this message and establish a clear deterrent to this kind of activity. Hopefully that deterrent will keep more miners alive and intact in the years to come.”

Queensland Orders “Urgent Investigation” on Black Lung

Four cases of black lung disease have been found in Queensland miners in Australia, and there is an outcry for an “urgent investigation.”

I had to look twice to make sure I read that right.

Compare this national outcry in Australia to the utter silence in the United States where 701 miners were reported to MSHA with black lung in the last five years.

Four cases in Australia = national outcry.

Seven hundred one cases in the U.S. = silence.

As Australian leaders point out, everyone of these cases was preventable, and it’s obvious in Australia that every life counts.

Compare the Queensland numbers to Alpha Natural Resource’s Paramont Coal Co. Virginia LLC. That company reported a total of 122 cases on black lung cases in the last five years. Paramont’s Deep Mine #26 alone reported 33 cases. The company’s Deep Mine 41 reported 31 cases and its Deep Mine #25 reported 29 cases.

But here in the U.S. we have no “urgent investigations.”

We have no investigations.

No operator is paying any price for 701 miners with this disease — at least not enough to ensure that this preventable disease doesn’t happen.

Blame can be shared in many corners. Operators fail to have adequate dust controls, and miners are afraid or simply won’t call inspectors. Some judges at the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission slap small fines where MSHA does find a violation, with judges claiming that one case of over exposure won’t cause black lung. Meanwhile, government records, where we know there is under-reporting, show cases of black lung in these very mines, and something very wrong.

While people can claim that “all lives matter,” this just isn’t the case with our nation’s miners. The black lung numbers, coupled with the complete and total lack of a national outcry, is proof that for those 701 who mined the coal that we need for all parts of our national infrastructure, their lives don’t matter.

For the story on the Queensland’s miners, click this link. Black Lung in Queensland