Skip to content
MSHA News Release No. 96-008
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Amy Louviere
Phone: (703) 235-1452

June 11, 1996

MSHA, A.T. Massey Coal Co., Inc. Develop Agreement to Improve Mine Safety Among Production Contractors

The Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) today announced a cooperative mine safety agreement with A.T. Massey Coal Co., Inc. of Richmond, Va., to promote safe operations among production contractors.

The "Production Contractor Safety Improvement Program" has been adopted at coal mines operated by production contractors of Massey and its subsidiaries. The seven mines that will be affected are located in West Virginia and Kentucky.

"MSHA recognizes that the efforts of companies such as Massey can significantly contribute to the cause of safety and health, particularly as applied to small contract coal mines operated by independent production contractors," said J. Davitt McAteer, assistant labor secretary for mine safety and health.

Under the agreement, the Massey subsidiaries will evaluate the ability of prospective production contractors to carry out mining operations consistent with the Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 when awarding their respective contract mining agreements. During the selection process, the subsidiaries will examine the following:

-- accidents and injury data and related frequency rates for the prior 24-month period at coal mines operated by the prospective production contractor;

-- the MSHA violation history for the prior 24-month period for coal mines operated by the prospective production contractor;

-- whether the prospective production contractor will employ certified or qualified persons as necessary to perform pre-shift, on-shift and weekly examinations required by the Mine Act.

Massey subsidiaries will contractually require each production contractor to comply with all safety rules currently in place at their mines and to provide their employees with all training required by the Massey subsidiary at company-operated mines.

Massey subsidiaries will perform periodic audits of each production contractor-operated mine to assess the overall safety performance at the mine, compliance with Massey company safety rules, and the effectiveness of this program. Audits will be conducted at least annually, but more frequently as safety performance and other circumstances warrant.

Audits will include the collection, maintenance and evaluation of the mine's compliance and civil penalty payment history; the review of accidents and injuries using available worker's compensation records, MSHA data and accident reports; the review and analysis of training programs related to that mine; the review of the production contractor's safety program, and observation of the active areas of the mine to determine actual compliance by the production contractor with its formal safety program and the safety rules of the applicable Massey subsidiary.

Massey and MSHA agreed to work together to develop appropriate training materials on the methodology for conducting and recording pre-shift, on-shift and weekly examinations required by the Mine Act and the proper evaluation of the results of such examinations.

MSHA also will assist and cooperate with Massey and its subsidiaries to administer this program by providing Massey with detailed violation history reports for production contractors; accident/injury data for production contractors; the dates that production contractors are required to submit their plans and revisions to MSHA; status of civil penalty payments for any and all of Massey's subsidiaries; copies of all MSHA citations, orders and modifications of citations and orders issued at mines operated by production contractors.

MSHA may review training programs developed by Massey and make available MSHA resources through the National Mine Health and Safety Academy. MSHA district officials will meet periodically with Massey personnel to discuss the effectiveness of this program.