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MSHA News Release No. 99-1019
Mine Safety and Health Administration - USDOL
Contact: Amy Louviere
Phone: 703-235-1452

Released Tuesday, October 19, 1999

MSHA Offers Penalty-Free Truck Inspections to Contractors in Virginia

To help combat accidents involving coal trucks operated by independent contractors, the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is offering a series of consultative truck inspections without penalties in several locations throughout southeastern Virginia.

> Through November 15, independent contractor drivers are invited to bring their coal trucks to one of the following locations for a courtesy truck inspection betweem 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.:

Oct. 20-21
Contrary area on Route 680, at Keen Trucking Company

Oct. 25
Hurley area at the intersection of Routes 643 and 676

Oct. 26
Amonate area, Route 624 at Tunnel Hill between Bandy and Amonate

Oct. 27-28
Wise area on Route 23, North of Lowe's at the weigh station

Nov. 1
Coeburn area on Route 58A at Double R Trucking Co. Nov. 2-4
Coeburn area on Route 72 North, near VIC's office at the Dale Ridge Scales

Nov. 8-10
Clinchfield area on Route 615, next to Clinchfield's training center

Nov. 15
Wise area on Darden Drive/Route 646 at Danny Large Trucking Co.

"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, 19 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 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 last April near Smithers, West Virginia.