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MSHA announces October, November inspection results

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The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration recently announced federal inspectors issued 174 citations, 11 orders and two safeguards during special impact inspections at 12 coal mines in November.

MSHA conducted impact inspections at six coal mines and three metal and nonmetal mines in October. Inspectors issued 120 citations and 10 orders, but impact inspections were curtailed during part of October because of the partial government shutdown.

The monthly inspections began in April 2010 after the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion to target mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement because of their poor compliance history or certain compliance concerns, according to MSHA.

The agency conducted an impact inspection Nov. 21 at Maple Coal Co.'s Maple Eagle No. 1 mine in Fayette County. Inspectors issued 36 citations and sixth orders in what was the eighth impact inspection at the mine. Enforcement personnel noticed a 20-foot crack in the mine roof at a belt feeder where miners regularly travel, as well as an area of loose roof strata 60 feet long and as much as 8 feet wide.

The mine was issued three withdrawal orders for violating the approved ventilation plan and was cited for failing to identify and correct hazards MSHA described as "obvious" and "extensive" during the pre-shift inspection.