Delinquent Fines

You can see the most recent delinquent fines as reported by MSHA. If you believe your company has been improperly included on this list, please contact the MSHA Office of Assessments at:202-693-9700. Mine Safety and Health News is NOT responsible for the accuracy of this list.

Click here: MSHA_Debt_by_Age

Recovery Still On-Going for Mississippi Miners

Two men are still missing this morning at Green Brothers Gravel Co. in Crystal Springs, Miss. On Friday, June 3, the two men working in the pit were trapped in their equipment by a wall of 10 – 12 feet of mud and debris.

MSHA said the agency was informed at 1 p.m. of the accident. An announcement was made on Saturday that the operation to get the two men had turned into a “recovery effort” and not a rescue.

As of yesterday, workers were constructing a road to allow the crane to reach the recovery site and hopefully locate the missing miners. MSHA family liaisons are currently on site with family members.

The area has received a lot of rain, which may have contributed to the fatal collapse.

Vol. 23, Nos. 10 & 11

  • Accidents
    • Flying debris injures driver in electrical incident at Marshall County Loadout (258)
    • Miner seriously hurt in excavator overturn at Lowsplint Surface Mine (259)
    • Extensive roof problems found after injury at D-8 Cloverlick Mine (260)
    • Inadequate training cited after severe injury to Stewart Services employee (261)
    • Two hurt by chain hoist failure at Giant Cement (262)
    • Worker struck by falling rock in Michel underground limestone mine (263)
    • Lightning causes nerve injury at Batesco Portable Plant (263)
    • Gas line breach injures worker at Phillips Vandalia Sand and Gravel Pit (264)
    • Miner escapes injury in dozer fire at Ontelaunee Quarry (264)
    • Worker dragged by moving equipment at Liberty Lignite Mine (264)
    • Loader accident fractures pelvis of worker at Hi-View Quarry (265)
  • Budget Committee actions would deny MSHA appropriation hike (265)
  • Civil Penalties Delinquent penalties considered an aggravating circumstance in assessment (267)
  • Discrimination Empire Iron Mining fined $8,000 in interference case(268)
  • Equipment Safety Commission vacates duplicative citation for same condition (270)
  • Fatalities:
    • MSHA Finds unwarrantable hazards after death at Atlas Quarries (270)
    • Fall of rock from highwall kills equipment operator at Vulcanís Savannah Quarry (271)
    • Death at Lower War Eagle was caused by working on roller with conveyor in motion (272)
    • Icy grade responsible for death of truck driver at Barrick Cortez (274)
  • Investigations
    • Mine Act permits access to personnel records in discrimination investigation (275)
    • BHP Copper, Tetra Tech ordered to turn over parts of accident investigation report (278)
  • Personal Liability Judges will look for prejudice where cases languished at TCIO for years (280)
  • Settlements Commissioners appear to reject challenge to ALJ settlement authority (282)
  • Two settlements rejected where reductions in fines ‘not supportable’ (288)
  • Review Commission Orders and ALJ Decisions (290)

Blankenship’s new digs…

Coal baron Don Blankenship lost his bid for freedom while he appeals his conviction and now gets to spend the next year in a federal prison. But trust me, it’s not the kind of prison you think.

Blankenship reported to Taft Correctional Institute, a minimum-security federal prison camp located near Bakersfield, Calif.

No word on whether he will have air conditioning — a luxury denied in the infamous tent prisons of Arizona’s Joe Arpaio, but the website for the prison assures us that he will have “quality health care,” which will include “Medical, dental, mental, and wellness services are provided to promote healthy lifestyles,” according to the prison’s website.

The camp is minimum security, and there are no security fences or armed posts. In fact, news stories as recently as December 2015 indicate that prisoners “escape” by walking away.

Visiting hours are from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as every federally recognized holiday, which will still be a four hour trip for his friends in Las Vegas, unless they can borrow a private plane and fly in to Bakersfield.

The prison programs he may participate in include:
• GED
• INEA
• Adult Basic Education
• Wheels for the World
• Alcoholics Anonymous
• NCCER Courses
• Open Office Computer Apps
• Inside Out Dad
• Man in the Mirror
• English as Second Language
• Release Preparation
• Thinking for a Change
• Breaking the Cycle (BOP)
• Cage Your Rage
• Christianity in Prison
• Telemarketing
• Special Housing Unit Programming
• English Literature
• Individual Counseling
• Those Outspoken
• VT Math
• Choice and Change
• Culinary Arts
• Truck Driving

We understand that there are also sports teams and music lessons!

While he may be missing his dogs and friends and good times in his Las Vegas home, it won’t be as harsh as what the UBB families are going through for the rest of their lives.

Which is Worse? A Drug Dealer or Don Blankenship?

From the government’s sentencing memorandum for Donald L. Blankenship:

“Which is worse: a poor, uneducated young man who sells drugs because he sees no other opportunity, or a multimillionaire executive, at the pinnacle of his power, who decides to subject his workers to a daily game of Russian roulette? Which is worse: that young man carrying a gun during a single drug deal—a crime that will earn him a five-year mandatory minimum prison sentence—or a CEO jeopardizing the lives of hundreds, day after day? Which is worse: stealing money or trampling on laws that protect human life?

“In each case, to ask the question is to answer it. Under any fair assessment, only a sentence of many years in prison could truly reflect the seriousness of [Blankenship]’s crime and provide just punishment, which the law requires the court to do.”

In a juxtaposition, a letter to the court supporting Don Blankenship:

“I saw multiple times where Don would see a need and just quietly fill it behind the scene anonymously or remaining very low key. All these huge public improvements didn’t come with a big banner flying overhead that said, “Donated by Don Blankenship and/or Massey Energy;” that’s not how he has chosen to operate through the years. Many people using these parks, community buildings, like the Delbarton Opry House, don’t even know where much of the funding and/or materials came from. (Lisa Crum).”

In Memory Of the Miners of UBB

In Memory of the Upper Big Branch miners who died on this day in April 2010, for nothing less than greed, negligence, and indifference to human life. Management did not care about their health or suffering. I don’t care what some people think. I have been writing about this subject long enough to know that this explosion was preventable. Most of the miners had black lung — a completely preventable disease. The men felt trapped into working there because of the illegal employment agreements that prevented them from getting jobs in a 90-mile radius if they quit or were fired. The equipment would break down so they could not safety do their jobs. There will never be peace for their families.

To those injured and survived, Timothy Blake, and James Woods, I hope that you will feel some sort of justice tomorrow.

On this day, I dedicate this page to these men who died at UBB:
1. Carl Acord, 52, roof bolter operator, 33 years mining experience, 44 weeks at this mine
2. Jason Atkins, 25, roof bolter operator, mining experience unavailable, 44 weeks at mine
3. Christopher Bell, Sr., longwall utility, 36 weeks mining experience, 8 weeks at mine
4. Gregory Brock, 47, electrician, 5 years mining experience, 5 years at mine
5. Kenneth Chapman, 53, roof bolter operator, 28 years mining experience, 24 weeks at mine
6. Robert Clark, 41, continuous miner operator, 11 years mining experience, 44 weeks at mine
7. Charles Davis, 51, longwall foreman, 32 years mining experience, 8 years at mine
8. Cory Davis, 20, underground apprentice, 20 weeks mining experience, 8 weeks at mine
9. Michael Elswick, 47, beltman/fireboss, mining experience unavailable, experience at mine unavailable
10. William Griffith, 54, continuous miner operator, 36 years mining experience, 16 years 32 weeks at mine
11. Steven Harrah, 40, assistant mine foreman, 9 years mining experience, 1 year 4 weeks at mine
12. Edward Jones, 50, assistant mine foreman, mining experience unavailable
13. Richard Lane, 45, longwall foreman, 8 years mining experience, 36 weeks at mine
14. William Lynch, 59, shuttle car operator, 34 years mining experience, 44 weeks at mine
15. Joe Marcum, 57, continuous mine operator, 32 years mining experience, 16 years at mine
16. Ronald Maynor, 31, scoop operator, 3 years 24 weeks mining experience, 3 years at mine
17. Nicholas McCrosky, 26, electrician, 3 years mining experience, 1 year 24 weeks at mine
18. James Mooney, 51, shuttle car operator, 32 years 24 weeks mining experience, 10 years at mine
19. Adam Morgan, 21, underground apprentice, 8 weeks mining experience, 8 weeks at mine
20. Rex Mullins, 50, headgate operator, 20 years mining experience, 6 years 40 weeks at mine
21. Joshua Napper, 26, underground apprentice, employee of independent contractor David Stanley Consultants LLC, 8 weeks mining experience, 8 weeks at mine
22. Howard Payne, Jr., 53, roof bolter operator, 12 years mining experience, 11 years at mine
23. Dillard Persinger, 32, shield operator, 2 years mining experience, 2 years at mine
24. Joel Price, 55, shearer operator, 35 years mining experience, 2 years 24 weeks at mine
25. Gary Quarles, 33, shearer operator, 14 years mining experience, 12 years 24 weeks at mine
26. Deward Scott, 58, shuttle car operator, 38 years mining experience, 44 weeks at mine
27. Grover Skeens, 57, maintenance foreman, 33 years mining experience, 14 years at mine
28. Benny Willingham, 61, roof bolter operator, 34 years mining experience, 44 weeks at mine
29. Ricky Workman, 50, shuttle car operator, 9 years mining experience, 8 years at mine

Judge Berger: Alpha’s Not A Victim

Alpha Natural Resources is not a “victim” entitled to restitution in the criminal case against former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, U.S. District Court Judge Irene Berger ruled today. In fact, Alpha calculated the potential losses based on the known criminal proceedings at the time of the sale, and made an informed business decision when it purchased Massey Energy after the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion that killed 29 miners.

Alpha sought $13,472,200.21 in restitution from Blankenship. Specifically Alpha sought $4,310,671.21 for participation in the investigation and prosecution of the case; $4,310,671.21 for indemnification of former Massey employees who cooperated as witnesses in the case; and, $10,004,935 for the payment of the violations at the UBB mine.

In her decision denying Alpha’s claim for restitution, Judge Berger noted “that Alpha acquired Massey over one year after the UBB explosion or the end of the indictment period; calculated a value for Massey which incorporated potential losses arising from the criminal investigation; voluntarily agreed to cooperate with the U.S. in order to reduce the potential for criminal and/or civil penalties arising from Massey’s conduct; entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. as the result of the company’s cooperation; agreed to pay the fines for violations at UBB, and produce the documents that were introduced by the U.S. at the trial; and, agreed to indemnify the legal expenses of former Massey employees who testified for the U.S. in the case.”

“Each of these decisions resulted in significant financial costs… each of the decisions that resulted in Alpha’s claimed losses were made after the conclusion of the conspiracy for which [Blankenship] was convicted in this case….

“At the end of the indictment period, Alpha had incurred none of the expenses for which it claimed restitution…. Alpha incurred its now claimed financial ‘injury’ at least a year later, and only after it voluntarily acquired Massey and voluntarily entered into the non-prosecution agreement with the Government. Thus, Alpha is not a ‘victim” as defined by the Victim and Witness Protection Act,” Judge Berger wrote.

Blankenship’s sentencing is on Wednesday.

Miner Killed At Huff Creek Mine

A miner was killed today in a rib roll at Lone Mountain Processing’s Huff Creek Mine in Harlan County, Ky.

It’s the second rib roll fatality at the mine since an Aug. 6, 2013, rib roll (coal/rock outburst) killed 56 year-old miner Lenny Gilliam, who suffered fatal blunt force injuries to his head, chest, and legs, and injured a mobile bridge operator who suffered multiple blunt trauma injuries involving the chest, right arm, and back.

The mine has been cited 33 times for roof control and roof plan violations since the fatal accident. Most recently the mine was cited Feb. 22, 2016 for violations under 75.220(a), for allegedly failing to develop and follow a roof control plan, approved by the District Manager, that is suitable to the prevailing geological conditions, and the mining system to be used at the mine.

Below are the roof control and roof plan violations cited by MSHA since the fatal accident in 2013.

————————————————————————————————————

Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8375775 000384055 11/21/2014 7/19/2015 104(a) 11/21/2014 C Y 75.202(a) 460.00 Closed 460.00 460.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8375137 000369456 6/14/2014 1/28/2015 104(a) 6/14/2014 C Y 75.202(a) 585.00 Closed 585.00 585.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8375772 000381261 11/4/2014 6/18/2015 104(a) 12/1/2014 C Y 75.202(a) 585.00 Closed 585.00 585.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8322132 11/23/2015 104(a) 11/24/2015 C Y 75.202(a) Not Assessed Yet
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8321702 000391699 2/3/2015 10/18/2015 104(a) 2/5/2015 C Y 75.202(a) 460.00 Closed 460.00 460.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8321328 000391699 2/5/2015 10/18/2015 104(a) 2/5/2015 C N 75.202(a) 100.00 Closed 100.00 100.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8387040 000369456 6/14/2014 1/28/2015 104(a) 6/14/2014 C Y 75.202(a) 392.00 Closed 392.00 392.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8375779 000384055 12/1/2014 7/19/2015 104(a) 12/3/2014 C Y 75.202(a) 460.00 Closed 460.00 460.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8412133 000361428 3/19/2014 10/19/2014 104(a) 3/20/2014 C Y 75.202(a) 1,300.00 Closed 1,300.00 1,300.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8390919 000371838 6/27/2014 2/15/2015 104(a) 6/27/2014 C Y 75.202(a) 392.00 Closed 392.00 392.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8338797 000384055 11/25/2014 7/19/2015 104(a) 11/25/2014 C Y 75.202(a) 499.00 Closed 499.00 499.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8375767 000381261 10/28/2014 6/18/2015 104(a) 10/28/2014 C Y 75.202(a) 687.00 Closed 687.00 687.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8392720 000356241 1/9/2014 7/22/2015 104(a) 1/13/2014 C Y 75.202(a) 392.00 Closed 392.00 392.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8375136 000369456 6/14/2014 1/28/2015 104(a) 6/14/2014 C Y 75.202(a) 585.00 Closed 585.00 585.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8375791 000391699 1/30/2015 10/18/2015 104(a) 2/5/2015 C Y 75.202(a) 1,795.00 Closed 1,795.00 1,795.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8375138 000369456 6/14/2014 1/28/2015 104(a) 6/14/2014 C Y 75.202(a) 585.00 Closed 585.00 585.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8386695 000359230 3/19/2014 3/14/2016 104(a) 3/19/2014 C Y 75.203(a) 70,000.00 Pending Payment 50,000.00 0.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8412130 000361428 3/19/2014 10/19/2014 104(a) 3/20/2014 C Y 75.203(e)(1) 975.00 Closed 975.00 975.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8387483 000396682 10/14/2015 1/1/2016 104(a) 10/15/2015 C Y 75.209(e)(3) 224.00 Closed 224.00 224.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8409135 000345213 1/13/2014 4/16/2014 104(a) 1/15/2014 C N 75.209(f) 100.00 Closed 100.00 100.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8396359 000347962 10/9/2013 5/21/2014 104(a) 10/10/2013 C Y 75.220(a)(1) 634.00 Closed 634.00 634.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8322140 12/22/2015 104(a) 12/22/2015 C N 75.220(a)(1) Not Assessed Yet
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8322139 12/22/2015 104(a) 12/22/2015 C N 75.220(a)(1) Not Assessed Yet
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8386931 000391699 1/30/2015 10/18/2015 104(a) 1/30/2015 C Y 75.220(a)(1) 540.00 Closed 540.00 540.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8375766 000381261 10/23/2014 6/18/2015 104(a) 10/28/2014 C Y 75.220(a)(1) 2,106.00 Closed 2,106.00 2,106.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8400914 2/18/2016 104(a) 2/22/2016 C Y 75.220(a)(1) Not Assessed Yet
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8400915 2/22/2016 104(a) 2/22/2016 C N 75.220(a)(1) Not Assessed Yet
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8396686 000364432 4/8/2014 11/19/2014 104(a) 4/8/2014 C N 75.220(a)(1) 100.00 Closed 100.00 100.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8412129 000364432 3/19/2014 11/19/2014 104(a) 3/19/2014 C N 75.220(a)(1) 100.00 Closed 100.00 100.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8375765 000381261 10/20/2014 6/18/2015 104(a) 10/20/2014 C Y 75.220(a)(1) 687.00 Closed 687.00 687.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8412416 000376567 9/5/2014 4/19/2015 104(a) 9/5/2014 C Y 75.220(a)(1) 392.00 Closed 392.00 392.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8338798 000384055 11/25/2014 7/19/2015 104(a) 12/3/2014 C N 75.223(a)(1) 100.00 Closed 100.00 100.00
Lone Mountain Processing Inc 8386694 000359230 3/19/2014 3/14/2016 104(a) 3/19/2014 C Y 75.223(a)(1) 70,000.00 Pending Payment 25,000.00 0.00