A Friedens-based mining company has been fined $110,000 for violating a federal electrical hazard safety standard that resulted in injury to a miner.
An administrative law judge with the federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission found that Rox Coal Inc., a subsidiary of Severstal, had created an electrocution hazard at its Geronimo Mine, where the miner was shocked while changing a fuse on a high-voltage switch in October 2007.
“The mine’s chief electrician intentionally had disabled the safety switch two days prior to sending the miner and a co-worker to change fuses,” the federal Labor Department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration said in a news release.
“As a result, the miners worked within inches of 7,200 live volts.”
In ordering the fine, the law judge deemed the violation “quintessentially flagrant.” The judge held that a violation need not have been cited previously to be considered flagrant.
The judge’s ruling sustained MSHA’s assessment of the violation following its investigation.
Rox Coal spokesman Hank Parke was out of the office and other company officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
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