Coal Tattoo

Alpha hit with another ‘imminent danger’ order

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Here’s the latest from an Alpha Natural Resources SEC filing:

On November 28, 2011, White Buck Coal Company (“White Buck”), a subsidiary of Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. (“Alpha”), received an imminent danger order under section 107(a) of the Mine Act alleging that a miner was observed at the Grassy Creek No. 1 Mine cleaning water sprays on a continuous mining machine prior to its power source being locked and tagged out. The circuit breaker that opens all power conductors entering the continuous mining machine had been opened prior to commencement of the work.

White Buck believes that the miner’s actions were in compliance with MSHA’s Program Policy Letter No. P11-V-01, which became effective February 8, 2011 and states that certain maintenance work, such as “changing water sprays,” can be performed on a continuous mining machine “with the circuit breaker opened that opens all power conductors entering the machine.” The Grassy Creek No. 1 Mine has received no prior citations or orders alleging similar violations during the past twelve months. No injuries occurred as a result of the cited practice, and White Buck retrained all miners working at the Grassy Creek No. 1 Mine on the procedure for locking and tagging out the power source prior to performing maintenance work on electric powered equipment. The order was terminated on November 28, 2011.