MSHA Out to Collect $240,000 in Fines
The Mine Safety and Health Administration is trying to collect nearly $240,000 in unpaid penalties, a recent MSHA news release stated. Two offending mines have failed to pay the necessary violation fees for numerous citations that infringed upon the health and safety of mine workers. As a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, the MSHA has sought legal action against the mines – one in Texas, the other in North Carolina.
From the mine in Texas, the Labor Department demands, “…$33,979 in unpaid civil penalties for 40 violations, along with $4,643 in interest and the statutory 10 percent debt collection fee. MSHA issued $25,065 of these penalties following its investigation of serious injuries suffered by a miner when a front end loader rolled over on him in September 2010. MSHA also issued a citation for the mine’s failure to provide the victim with proper training. The mine changed its status to “abandoned” in December 2010, shortly after the accident.”
At the second mine, the complaint filed at the Western District of North Carolina U.S. District Court addresses more than 100 violations. Similar to the Texas mine, the Department of Labor seeks to collect the unpaid civil penalties, the interest, and a 10% percent debt collection fee. The total charge comes to $196,833.
The second mine, North 321 Stone Co. Inc. – did not protest the charges.
“Mine operators cannot be permitted to violate mine safety laws and simply refuse to pay penalties assessed for those violations,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. “The Department of Labor will use the tools available under the Mine Act to pursue these scofflaws.”
Section 110(j) of The Mine Act of 1977 states that civil penalties accrue and can be recovered through civil action. An 8% annual interest rate is applied to the overall charge as well.