The pattern of violations sanction, authorized by law in 1978, has been a little used, but very powerful enforcement tool contained in the Mine Act. Now, 30 years later, that monster has been brought to life. The Sago and Crandall Canyon mine tragedies provided the tinder. Lightning struck when the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued the first-ever “pattern” of violations notice November 20, 2008, to Patriot Mining LLC, Wise County, Va. Although 43 mine operators received letters indicating a potential pattern of violations since June 2007; Patriot is the first mine put on notice because they did not sufficiently improve their violation record.
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Reprinted with permission from Coal Age Magazine