Conditions in Eagle Mine 3 are perilous.
The United States Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) conducted a regular impact inspection on June 24, 2014, at Eagle Mine 3, operated by Rhino Eastern LLC, in Wyoming County, West Virginia. It was during this inspection that MSHA found 38 violations and issued citations for equipment condition violations, damaged electrical cables, self-contained self-rescuers, and the presence of combustible materials.
That’s four different workplace hazards centralized in this one mine alone, not including the conditions at Eagle Mine 3 which have increased the miners’ risk for black lung - debilitating lung infections that occur from accumulated coal dust in the lungs. The violations in Eagle Mine 3 also increased the potential for deadly explosions. The inspection highlights the persisting issue of workplace safety and maintaining high standards to protect miners.
It’s almost as if Eagle Mine 3 is out to endanger their workers. In several locations, the mine was cited for not complying with the approved roof control plan. Excessive entry widths, for instance, expose miners to the risk of falling rock from mine ceilings and walls.
Violations such as these seem like a slap in the face to worker safety, especially because a miner in Eagle Mine 1 was killed in those very conditions, when a block of left over coal that loosened from the mine shaft fell and caused his death.
Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, is justifiably appalled: “There is absolutely no excuse for allowing such dangerous conditions to exist, and miners deserve better.”
New regulations for coal dust ventilation are aimed at ending black lung, putting into effect changes that will improve the conditions in Eagle Mine 3. They go into effect August 1.