Solid Fuel Inc.’s No. 1 mine in Claiborne County, Tenn., formerly known as Wilcoal’s Tri-State Mining, and Rhino Eastern LLC’s Eagle 1 mine in Raleigh County, W.Va., both implemented corrective action programs and successfully achieved their target improvements during the last PPOV evaluation. However, according to MSHA, they have failed to maintain those health and safety improvements and again have met the PPOV criteria, a first in the history of the enforcement of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977.
In accordance with MSHA’s POV procedures summary, the agency has continued to monitor the mines for long-term compliance. Based on the most recent enforcement data, MSHA determined these mines are no longer making a good faith effort to eliminate violations. In the five months following the evaluation period, both operations’ significant and substantial (S&S) violation rates increased considerably. The rate of Solid Fuel’s No. 1 mine increased from 4.84 to 21.94 S&S citations and orders per 100 inspection hours. The rate of Rhino Eastern’s Eagle 1 mine increased from 4.18 to 24.77 S&S citations and orders per 100 inspection hours. A rib fall fatality occurred at the latter mine in June, even though rib falls were specifically addressed in Rhino Eastern’s corrective action program.