The ALJ upheld two unwarrantable failures issued by MSHA in November 2007 regarding the mine operator’s ventilation plan and conducting an adequate preshift examination.

The violations occurred at Shelby’s Coke No. 1, a gassy mine located near Montevallo, Ala., and both arose from the operator’s failure to have proper ventilation curtains in place. The preshift violation was issued for the operator’s failure to detect and correct the lack of ventilation curtains.

“Before the inspector issued the citation and order in dispute, the mine had experienced six previous methane ignitions, one of which resulted in serious burns to two miners,” said Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. “Those ignitions should have raised sufficient concern for the mine operator to take the necessary steps to protect its miners.”