MSHA cited 158 S&S violations at Fork Creek No. 1 from September 1, 2012, through August 31, 2013, including 14 for roof and rib hazards, 21 for ventilation hazards and 21 for explosion hazards. The mine’s S&S issuance rate was 8.83 per 100 inspection hours during the review period, compared to a rate of 3.62 for all underground coal mines during the same period. During the review period, the mine ranked fifth in the nation (tying with one other operation) in elevated citations and withdrawal orders with 24 issuances.

“While it took an MSHA audit to discover the extent of unreported injuries at the mine, Coal River was also aware of the compliance issues it was experiencing and did not take sufficient action to make necessary safety improvements,” said Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.