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Department of Labor completed impact inspections at 15 mines in July 2023, identified 288 violations of safety, health standards

Jun 24, 2023

News Release

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that its Mine Safety and Health Administration completed impact inspections at 15 mines in 12 states in July 2023, issuing 288 violations and four safeguard notices. MSHA began impact inspections after an explosion killed 29 miners at West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch Mine in 2010.

So far in 2023, MSHA’s impact inspections have identified 1,723 violations, including 493 significant and substantial and 23 unwarrantable failure findings. An S&S violation is one reasonably likely to cause a reasonably serious injury or illness. Violations designated as unwarrantable failures occur when an inspector finds aggravated conduct that constitutes more than ordinary negligence.

The agency conducts impact inspections at mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to poor compliance history; previous accidents, injuries, and illnesses; and other compliance concerns. Among the 288 violations MSHA found in July, the agency evaluated 82 as S&S and found one to have an unwarrantable failure finding. The agency completed these inspections at mines in Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

“In the last 10 years, more than 20 miners and contractors have been fatally injured and more than 1,000 have been disabled or lost time from work in fall-from-height accidents. The Mine Safety and Health Administration continues to see fall from height accidents and issue imminent danger orders due to miners lacking fall protection,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson. “MSHA is troubled that this month’s impact inspections included citations for hazards the agency has previously highlighted in safety and health alerts, such as fall accidents and hazardous chemicals.”

The details of an inspection conducted in July demonstrates some of the hazards miners face.

From July 17 to 18, 2023, MSHA conducted an impact inspection at Buzzi Unicem USA’s Lone Star Pryor Plant Mill and Quarry in Mayes, Oklahoma. Selected given its previous enforcement history, the mine’s operator was cited for 53 violations. Among them, 25 were S&S violations. Specifically, agency inspectors found Buzzi Unicem USA’s violations included the following:

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