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Alpha cited in death of mechanic

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A report on the falling death of 57-year-old miner resulted in multiple citations for Alpha Natural Resources.

Clyde Dolin of Danville fell to his death from an elevator at Alpha's Independence Coal Co. on May 17. He had 37 years of experience in the coal industry.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration report on the incident points to a failure of management to ensure equipment safety.

"A practice existed of using extension sections throughout the plant, separate from ladder base portions," the report states. "The ladder section being used was not properly secured to prevent it from slipping or falling and the use of personal fall protection equipment was not ensured where there was a danger of falling."

The report states that a manager at the plant, James Maynard, even had helped steady the improper section of ladder before Dolin, a mechanic had begun work.  

"According to an eyewitness, James Maynard, Foreman, was present at the work area immediately prior to the accident and helped a witness steady the ladder while the victim climbed the ladder to perform the work," the MSHA report stated. "Additionally, the investigation found the obvious and extensive condition to be prevalent in that four other ladder extension sections were found in the plant that were separated from their bases and appeared to have been used in that manner. Maynard allowed the ladders to be used despite their condition and despite the presence of conspicuous warning labels attached to the ladder extensions."

The company received a total of four citations related to the accident.