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MSHA News Release No. 99-0413
Mine Safety and Health Administration

CONTACT: Amy Louviere
PHONE: 703-235-1452

Released Tuesday, April 13, 1999

MSHA Offers Penalty-Free Truck Inspections to Contractors in West Virginia

To help combat accidents involving coal trucks operated by independent contractors, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) currently is offering a series of consultative truck inspections without penalties throughout southern West Virginia.

Over the next several weeks, independent contractor drivers are invited to bring their coal trucks to one of the following three locations for a courtesy truck inspection (all times 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.):

April 19-21
Abby and Andy Leasing Maintenance Facility, Rt. 10, " mile south of New Richmond

April 26-29
The area adjacent to Babe's Restaurant and Motel, County Rt. 8/1, Wharncliffe

May 3-7
Sartin Trucking Garage, Rt. 52, Fort Gay
May 10-14
B J A Trucking Company Maintenance Facility, Fort Gay

"The 30- to 40-minute safety check is designed to identify problems with brakes, air systems, drive lines and any mechanical hazards that could adversely affect truck performance," said J. Davitt McAteer, assistant labor secretary for mine safety and health. "No citations for safety violations will be issued," he said.

As part of the inspection, MSHA personnel will thoroughly explain what they are checking, show truck drivers what to include in their own pre-operational checks, discuss causes of trucker fatalities, and provide drivers with safety materials on safe truck operation and maintenance.

Since 1990, 17 mining deaths have involved coal trucks operated by independent contractors, mainly in West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky. Most of these fatalities involved bad brakes and failure to maintain control of the truck.

The idea for penalty-free truck inspections arose during a recent series of independent contractor seminars held around the country. "While participation in the seminars was strong among other segments of the mining industry, truckers found it difficult to miss a day's haul to attend these safety seminars," said McAteer. "So, it became clear to MSHA that we needed to work harder to reach out to them."

MSHA launched the truck inspection program in early April near Smithers, West Virginia, and expects to host additional inspections in Virginia and Kentucky at mobile stations near routes commonly traveled by coal haulage trucks.