Getting Tough on Mine Penalties

January 14, 2015


Mines that were taken to task for being delinquent on paying penalties are now apparently paying up.


This comes on the heels of a report a couple of months ago from NPR and Mine Safety Health News. The report underlined the fact that, under federal mine safety laws, inspectors have a number of responsibilities. They visit mines and write citations for violations and levy fines.


According to the report, while many mines follow the law, there is a small percentage of delinquent mines that have unpaid penalties adding up to nearly $70 million.


Let's make some distinctions here: Delinquent mines are mines that have not paid penalties even after those penalties have been become final.


According to the report, these delinquent mines have an injury rate that is 50% higher than mines that pay their fines.


This report may have gotten federal regulators to get into gear. According to one report, federal regulators cited a delinquent coal mine for failing to pay $30,000 in overdue penalties and gave the owners of the mine two weeks to pay up. When that didn't happen, the mine was shut down, courtesy of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).


The investigation by NPR found that delinquent mines committed 131,000 violations and reported nearly 4,000 injuries while they were delinquent and while MSHA targeted the delinquent mines with other enforcement. Tens of thousands of the fines were described as "substantial".


Just a few reasons on why mine safety is so important.