State cites Mine After Worker’s Death
A Greene County mine was cited by the state Department of Environmental Protection after a miner was killed on the job. The Greene County Coroner’s office said John William “Bill” Kelly, age 55, of Albright, West Virginia was fatally injured at Dana Coal Company, 4 West Mine, near Bobtown, Pennsylvania. The company said Kelly was injured while working in the mine. Kelly died in the emergency room at Southwest Regional Medical Center.
Department of Environmental Protection spokesman John Poister said that the Mine Safety Health Administration has halted mining operations in the mine. The mine operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Poister stated that Kelly, who had worked at the mine for about 10 years, was performing the work of a supply man using a diesel scoop to haul supplies to the mining units. kelly was travelling through a set of airlock doors and while closing the doors, the doors and framework fell on him, causing crushing injuries. He was attended by emergency medical technicians and transported out of the mine to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
According to Brian M. Osborn, Senior Vice President for operations for MEPCO LLC., of Morgantown, West Virginia, the company that owns the mine, the company is fully cooperating with authorities in the investigation into the circumstances that led to the accident. Poister said the DEP conducted a preliminary investigation and has issued five compliance orders, four of which were connected to the fatality. These include illegal hard hat, loose gravel in travel way, improper use of ventilation doors, he opened both contrary to law and improperly installed ventilation doors they were not bolted to the roof. Poister said the DEP will be completing additional investigation working with MSHA.
DEP inspectors throughout the region are now examining ventilation doors in all mines to determine that they are properly installed and functioning. Dana Mining’s 4 West Mine is located near Bobtown, Pennsylvania. It mines the Sewickley Seam and has four operating mining units. Currently, 400 men are employed and operate on 12 hour shifts, seven days a week. The mine is so complex and large that it is inspected four days a week. Poister stated that since 2014, the mine has been issued 15 compliance orders and 33 Notices of Violation for many reasons related to work at the mine. NOV are items found by the inspector, brought to the attention of the operator and corrected the same day.
Poister said the company voluntarily at the direction of the DEP formed a special detail to scale loose rock and install additional roof support to protect the miners as they travel through the mine. In March, there were 85 places identified as needing additional support, and have been corrected.According to the federal Department of Labor, Kelly’s death marks the eighth mining fatality nationwide this year, including two other mining deaths in Pennsylvania.
It is of the utmost importance for anyone injured in a mine or their surviving dependents to recognize the challenges ahead of them. Waiting for the MHSA to do its investigation and preliminary report is unwise because there is always the threat that the report will be inadmissible or redacted for confidentiality. This evidence of guilt may prove vital to obtaining compensation and damages, and yet the companies liable may have set the stage to keep this evidence from working against them in a court case. However, attorneys with experience in coal mine accidents will have their own methods of getting valid information through investigators, experts, and other resources. They can then use this to help a client win the compensation due to them.