Massey and ICG cited in separate mine fatalities

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Safety violations by prominent eastern U.S. coal mine operators Massey Energy Co. and International Coal Group contributed to the deaths of two miners in accidents last May, West Virginia officials said Tuesday.

Each company has been cited, though fines have not been assessed yet, according to the state Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training. Contributing violations can carry fines up to $10,000.

Massey violated state mining regulations because no one cut off power to an electric-powered shuttle car before electrician Nathan Dove started repairs, state mine inspector Eugene White told the Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety.

Dove, 24, a certified mine electrician in three states, was electrocuted when he cut into a live wire on the shuttle car, which quit while loaded with coal it was to haul to the conveyer belt at Massey's Aracoma Alma No. 1 Mine.

The Logan County mine was the scene of a fire that killed two miners in January 2006 and helped persuade Congress to adopt sweeping mine safety legislation that year.

Though power should have been locked out so the vehicle couldn't be re-energized and it should have been tagged to alert miners that it was being repaired, neither was done, White said.

ICG, meanwhile, was cited for two violations that state investigators say contributed to the May 30 death of apprentice miner Adam Lanham, 18. Lanham was working for an outside contractor when he was run over by a scoop hauling at ICG's underground Sentinel Mine in Barbour County.

One citation charges that an ICG foreman drove the scoop in an unsafe manner because he was too close to Lanham and allowed him to walk in front of the vehicle.