WV Mine Fatalities Bring Citations

Monday, August 31, 2015 @ 06:08 PM gHale

After two separate fatalities at two mines, two companies are facing citations for violations found during investigations of the incidents in West Virginia.

Rogers Petroleum Services Inc. is facing two citations and Murray Energy is facing eight, said officials at the Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training. State inspectors briefed the Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety on reports on their investigations of the accidents.

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A Rogers Petroleum employee, 52-year-old Von Bower, died earlier this year when his truck overturned at a surface mine in Raleigh County as it descended on a haul road. The company ended up cited for not maintaining the truck’s brakes in safe working condition.

Rogers Petroleum said in a statement issued through its attorney, Nathaniel Tawney, it would “need more time to carefully review” the report and “compare it with our own investigation” before “any comment is appropriate.”

The other accident occurred earlier this year at Murray Energy’s Marshall County Mine near Cameron.

John M. “Mike” Garloch, 45, of Neffs, Ohio, died and three other workers suffered injuries in a roof and rib fall.

Murray Energy’s violations included not controlling the mine roof, face and walls to protect workers from the potential dangers of falling material.

Board member Carl Egnor, a United Mine Workers of America representative, said he didn’t understand why state inspectors didn’t issue “individual personal assessments” to fine or otherwise punish any management personnel involved in the incident.

Inspector Jeff Bennett said there were no individual personnel assessments because “it would be hard to prove knowingly and willful disregard.”

Murray Energy said in a statement company officials are reviewing the report. The company emphasized that “safety is of the absolute highest priority at Murray Energy Corporation.”