MSHA sues to allow inspectors into mine

By |  July 9, 2014

The Associated Press reports that a sand and gravel mine in Jamestown, N.D., would not let MSHA inspectors enter the mine on three occasions to investigate complaints about safety.

As a result, the U.S. Dept. of Labor filed a lawsuit against Northern Excavating Co. and the owner of the company, accusing it of violating federal law by not giving inspectors access to the worksite.

According to the article, which appeared in The Washington Times, the mine’s employees notified MSHA in April of several health and safety violations.

MSHA spokesman Jesse Lawder is quoted as saying the employees’ complaints “were not insignificant,” and noted inspectors have no way of knowing whether additional violations occurred until they gain access to the worksite.

Reportedly, the company is accused of not providing its employees with protective equipment, and the owner of the company did not respond to the Associated Press’ requests for comment.

For now, MSHA inspectors have no way of knowing why the mine is deemed unsafe by workers there. Filing a lawsuit is one way to find out, however. Once a judge hands down a ruling and MSHA inspectors are turned away yet again, U.S. Marshals may be called in to help them gain access, Lawder is quoted as saying.

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