A state wide halting of operations has been ordered for West Virginia after the death of four miners’over the past two weeks.
Officials from the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training will visit coal mines in the state to "to ensure all safety guidelines are being met," the Pittsburgh BusinessTimes reported.
“Mine operators need to make sure that they are conducting proper mine safety examinations to find and fix hazards, and they need to make sure that miners are properly trained to do the jobs they are assigned, particularly activities not part of their normal routine,” said assistant labor secretary for the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.
Two deaths were reported in the last two weeks at the Affinity Mine in Raleigh County.
According to the Charleston Gazette, John Myles, 44, died from serious injuries after he was hit by a scoop as he shovelled coal on February 19.
While earlier in the month, Edward L. Finney, 43, was killed in a hoisting accident on February 7.
In separate incident, a man working at Consolidation Coal Company’s Loveridge Mine was injured on February 12th when a metal bar he was using to help put a loaded supply car back on the track, kicked out and struck him. He later died in hospital.
An employee working at Midland Trail Energy’s Blue Creek Preparation plant was fatally injured when the jacks for the filter press failed and the 18½" diameter housing broke loose pinning the victim causing fatal injuries.
Govenor Earl Ray Tomblin said he expected the cooperation of all resource companies.
“West Virginia’s coal mining industry can thrive only if mining operations are conducted as safely as possible and in accordance with the mandatory health and safety laws and regulations aimed at preventing accidents. I’m asking all coal companies and their employees to take this safety check seriously- we need to do everything we can to ensure all of our coal miners are safe.”
Main said a report was being compiled.
“MSHA’s goal is to have a written alert describing these six tragedies — along with best practices for preventing them — on our website and on the desk of every coal mine operator in the country. The industry is coming off two of the safest years in mining in this country.”