- Associated Press - Thursday, August 27, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Two companies have been cited by West Virginia regulators for alleged violations found during investigations of separate fatal mine accidents.

The Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training issued two citations to Rogers Petroleum Services Inc. and eight citations to Murray Energy. State inspectors briefed the Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety on reports on their investigations of the accidents on Wednesday, the Charleston Gazette-Mail (http://bit.ly/1JxFKco) reported.

A Rogers Petroleum employee, 52-year-old Von Bower, was killed earlier this year when his truck overturned at a surface mine in Raleigh County as it descended on a haul road. The company was cited for not maintaining the truck’s brakes in safe working condition.

Rogers Petroleum said in a statement issued through its attorney, Nathaniel Tawney, that it would “need more time to carefully review” the report and “compare it with our own investigation” before “any comment is appropriate.”

The other accident occurred earlier this year at Murray Energy’s Marshall County Mine near Cameron. John M. “Mike” Garloch, 45, of Neffs, Ohio, was killed and three other workers were injured in a roof and rib fall.

Murray Energy’s alleged violations included not controlling the mine roof, face and walls to protect workers from the potential dangers of falling material.

Board member Carl Egnor, a United Mine Workers of America representative, said he didn’t understand why state inspectors didn’t issue “individual personal assessments” to fine or otherwise punish any management personnel who were involved in the incident.

Inspector Jeff Bennett said individual personnel assessments were not issued because “it would be hard to prove knowingly and willful disregard.”

Murray Energy said in a statement that company officials are reviewing the report. The company emphasized that “safety is of the absolute highest priority at Murray Energy Corporation.”

The company’s statement also said Egnor “has no facts and is grossly wrong in his statements,” and that he was grandstanding for the UMW.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, http://wvgazettemail.com.

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