The federal government has released data from last month’s impact inspections of coal mines.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration began conducting surprise inspections of coal mines nearly two years ago, after 29 workers were killed in a West Virginia coal mine explosion. That mine was underground, and many of MSHA’s impact inspections have focused on finding similar unsafe conditions in underground mines.
But after a rash of fatalities at surface mines, MSHA made a point of including more of them in last month’s impact inspection. It inspected six Kentucky surface mines, and found serious problems at all of them. Assistant Secretary of Labor Joe Main says there are still signs that operators are continuing to give advance notice of the inspections to miners, which is illegal.
MSHA targets mines with a history of safety and compliance problems for its monthly impact inspections. The mines cited last month are in Perry, Pike, Leslie, Knott and Magoffin counties.