May 31 (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Labor discovered 335 safety violations during special inspections of 20 mines across 15 states in April.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration has been charged with inspecting mines that have been found to have poor compliance and safety records.
Special inspections began in response to a 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners in West Virginia. According to MSHA, it conducts so-called “impact inspections” at mines that need increased attention or at ones that have poor safety-compliance histories.
In April, the MSHA inspected mines in Arkansas, Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
The Utah mine inspected, Emery Mine, was given 41 citations, more than all but one other mine assessed in April. See the inspection chart here.
“Impact inspections highlight the need for mine operators to be vigilant at all times and act quickly to prevent accidents and repeat violations,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety Chris Williamson.
The MSHA initiated an inspection of Martin Marietta Magnesia Special mine, near Woodville, Ohio, after receiving safety complaints and in response to an accident in April that severely injured an employee.
The MSHA ultimately issued 26 citations against the Woodville mine, including 14 for significant and substantial violations.
Inspectors found that “Martin Marietta did not barricade a hazardous area that exposed workers to serious and potentially fatal injury.”
All told, the Labor Department has discovered 914 violations, including “257 significant, substantial violations since Jan. 1, 2023.”