West Virginia mine cited in week before fatal accident


First Posted: 3/9/2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Federal mine safety regulators issued more than a dozen citations to a West Virginia coal mine in the week before a Sunday accident that killed one worker and injured two others.

Several citations issued to Ohio-based Murray Energy’s Marshall County Coal Co.’s Marshall County Mine near Cameron in the Northern Panhandle involved federal law regarding roof plans and protection from roof, face and rib falls, online U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration records show.

Initial reports indicate the cause of Sunday night’s accident was a roof and rib fall on a longwall face, West Virginia Department of Commerce spokeswoman Leslie Smithson said in a news release.

In underground coal mines, a rib is the side of a passage and a face is an exposed area from which coal is extracted.

An MSHA spokeswoman said the recently issued citations were in other areas of the mine not close to the accident scene. The company didn’t respond to a request Monday for comment.

Since Jan. 1, MSHA inspectors have issued 189 citations to the mine for alleged violations that included coal dust accumulation, hazardous conditions, noise exposure levels, air quality and other safety issues. The mine received 970 citations in 2014.

Fourteen other injuries have occurred at the mine this year, MSHA records show. There were 47 injuries in 2014.

Murray Energy identified the miner who was killed Sunday night as John M. “Mike” Garloch of Neffs, Ohio. Smithson said White, 45, was an assistant longwall coordinator.

“The Marshall County Coal Company’s employees and management send their sincere condolences and prayers to the Garloch family,” the company said in a statement.

The accident is the first mining fatality in West Virginia this year and the third in the nation.

One of the injured workers has been released from the hospital, while the other remained hospitalized Monday, Smithson said. Their conditions weren’t immediately available.

Both MSHA and the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training are investigating the accident.

The mine produced 10.3 million tons of coal and employed 1,008 workers in 2014, MSHA records show.

Murray Energy bought the mine and several other longwall mines in West Virginia from CONSOL Energy Inc. in late 2013. The privately held company was among West Virginia’s top 10 private employers in 2014.

In 2007, nine people died in one of Murray Energy’s Utah mines.

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