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MSHA impact inspections continue to find ‘violations that put miners’ lives at risk’

By Damian Phillips, WV News

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Worrying data about U.S. mines continues to come to light.

In October, the federal Office of the Inspector General reported that the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration failed to adequately report or complete nearly 1,600 mandatory mine inspections between Fiscal Years 2018 and 2023, which the inspector general’s office said increased safety risks to miners across the country.

Following the report, MSHA completed impact inspections at 13 mines in 10 states last month, resulting in the issuance of 215 violations. States that hosted impact inspections included West Virginia, Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Utah and Virginia, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

During the first 11 months of 2023, MSHA impact inspections have identified a total of 2,307 violations, including 654 significant and substantial violations and 46 unwarrantable failure findings.

An S&S violation is one reasonably likely to cause a reasonably serious injury or illness, while violations designated as unwarrantable failures occur when an inspector finds aggravated conduct that constitutes more than ordinary negligence, according to the DOL.

“The October 2023 impact inspections show miners’ safety and health continues to be put at risk and in ways that are completely preventable,” MSHA Assistant Secretary Christopher Williamson said.

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