MSHA issues 87 citations at six metal/nonmetal mines during July impact inspections

Bobby Atkinson

August 27, 2015

MSHA_logoThe Mine Safety and Health Administration doled out 87 citations and four orders at six metal and nonmetal mines during its July monthly inspections.

According to MSHA, one serious infraction came at Ulrich Gravel in Valley County, Nebraska, where inspectors found hazards that mirrored the one’s at the plant when one of the miners died in an accident back in May. The miner died two days after the loaded haul truck he was operating near a dredge pond drifted into the water.

The inspectors witnessed a contract welder at Ulrich Gravel slide down a bank, step from small boat to a dredge pontoon and then from an 8-inch pipe to a walkway. MSHA said the worker could have “easily” slipped and drowned.

MSHA laid down 13 citations on Ulrich Gravel and issued two imminent danger orders to remove miners at the operation from dangers and unprotected walkways near the water.

“MSHA is looking hard at conditions that can lead to fatal accidents to reverse the recent increase of deaths in the metal and nonmetal mining industry,” MSHA’s assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health Joseph A. Main said. “This inspection identified an apparent failure by the mine operator to take necessary actions to find and fix hazards similar to ones resulting in a miner’s death at the mine. The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 holds mine operators accountable for conducting workplace examinations, and MSHA will enforce that law.”

MSHA cited Ulrich Gravel for the following violations:

  • Lack of berms or guardrails on mine haulage roads located adjacent to bodies of open water
  • Failure to provide berms for large pieces of equipment that travel the roadway
  • Obscured visibility caused by cracks in the windshield of a front-end loader
  • Failure to provide hard hats in an area where falling materials could strike miners
  • Handrails made of loose and sagging cable, creating hazards for miners walking across raised planks

Lafarge-North America’s Alpena Mine led the way in terms of citations during the July inspections, however. The company was cited 25 times – six of which were considered serious and substantial. Lehigh Southwest Cement had the second most with 21 citations, including eight serious and substantial. The full list can be found on the Department of Labor’s website here.



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