MSHA: Another coal fatality in WV - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV

MSHA: Another coal fatality in WV

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According to the website for the Mine Safety and Health Administration, another coal miner in West Virginia died on the job last night.

The incident occurred early Tuesday afternoon when an underground miner was injured seriously when he was struck by machinery at the mine near Eccles, an MSHA spokesperson said in an email Wednesday morning.

"The miner was near a scoop at the battery charging station, when a second scoop struck the scoop beside the miner, causing it to slide against the miner, injuring him," the MSHA statement said. "The injured miner was transferred from the mine to hospital via ambulance, where he died early Tuesday evening.  When notified of the accident, a District 4 Investigator traveled to the mine site after a 103j order was issued.  An investigation is underway."

The West Virginia Office of Miners' Health and Safety identified the victim as Gregory A. Byers, 43, of Beckley.

"Byers suffered crushing injuries at approximately 12:45 p.m. as a result of being pinned by mining equipment," the statement read. "Mr. Byers was first transported to a Beckley area hospital and later transferred to CAMC where he died late yesterday afternoon."

According to MSHA's website, the thirteenth coal miner to die on the job this year was recorded at the Beckley Pocahontas mine. The fatality was at an underground mine operated by ICG Beckley. 

According to MSHA data, the same mine was the site of a fatal injury in 2010, also a machinery-related crushing incident. The company has racked up more than 1,400 104(a) violations from MSHA since 2007. In the same time period, it has current penalties totaling nearly $1.5 million. 

The mine was not identified by MSHA for its potential pattern of violation program. The mine did not meet the required criteria for identification, but did meet some of the standards.

For example, one of the criteria to be placed on PPOV status is that the mine is issued more than 50 significant and substantial violations in the past 12 months. The Beckley Pocahontas mine was issued 192 in the last six months leading up to its monthly assessment.

The PPOV monitoring tool from MSHA said 17 were considered high or reckless disregard. To meet PPOV status, more than 25 percent of significant and substantial violations must be considered high or reckless disregard. 

This is the fourth mining fatality in West Virginia this year, according to MSHA. 


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