Mine Safety Report

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration says it's taking numerous steps to correct mistakes it made before the Sago Mine explosion and two other high-profile disasters that killed 19 coal miners last year.

Among other things, the agency is setting up an internal accountability office that's supposed to avoid enforcement and procedural lapses.

Director Richard Stickler says finding deficiencies within the agency is deeply disturbing. He says the Office of Accountability will increase oversight to make sure MSHA is enforcing health and safety laws.

MSHA details problems at Upshur County's Sago Mine, the Aracoma Alma Number One Mine in Logan County and the Darby Mine in Kentucky in a trio of reports issued today.

At Alma, for instance, MSHA concluded its inspectors missed a majority of the 25 violations that the agency determined contributed to the deaths of two miners in a January 2006 conveyer belt fire.

Likewise, MSHA said inspectors failed to address potential hazards at Darby before a methane gas explosion in an abandoned, sealed area of the mine killed five miners the following May.

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