MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — State inspectors have issued 45 violations at a West Virginia coal mine since two men died there, including one for negligently rigging the switch on a hoist with a piece of wood and a rusty bolt.
Edward Finney of Bluefield, Va., died Feb. 7 at Pocahontas Coal's Affinity Mine near Sophia, when he was pinned under a hoist he'd been moving trash into. Hoists are used to move miners and supplies between surface and underground operations.
After Finney's death, an inspection found a newly installed switch on the service hoist had been improperly rigged. The inspector called it a serious violation indicating a “high degree of negligence.”
Tennessee-based United Coal Co. owns Pocahontas Coal. It says it's cooperating with investigators, takes all violations seriously and is addressing the root causes.