Virginia Mine Where Worker Died Had 48 Safety Violations

April 25, 2008

The owner of a southwest Virginia coal mine where a worked was killed Tuesday had been cited 48 times for safety violations since 2005, according to state documents.

The violations at the Wise County mine included seven for failure to follow a plan to keep the mine roof safe, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported, citing documents with the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy.

A veteran roof bolter, David H. Sizemore, 61, of Big Stone Gap, became the first Virginia miner killed in more than three years when the mine roof fell on him at Osaka Mining Corp.’s Mine No. 1. Another miner was treated for injuries.

State and federal investigators are trying to determine the cause of the roof collapse, said Mike Abbott, spokesman for the Virginia mines agency.

Most of the 48 safety violations were for failures to complete paperwork.

Over the last six months of 2007, the mine scored well in a state safety-assessment program, although the number of safety violations was higher than the state average, Abbott said.

This year, the mine’s safety score slipped, and the state agency had planned to submit the mine to extra scrutiny.

Osaka official Hagy E. Barnett declined to comment on the accident.

Crews from the Virginia Division of Mines have halted work at the mine until the investigation is finished. Eleven miners who were working Tuesday morning’s shift when the death occurred.

Topics Virginia Mining

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