Associated Press Published

State Regulators Fine Company in West Virginia Miner's Death


State regulators have cited and fined the operator of a West Virginia coal mine in the death of a shuttle car operator.

Pinnacle Mining Co. was penalized following an investigation of the miner’s death, according to an eight-page document made public Monday during a state Coal Mine Health and Safety board meeting, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

Luches Rosser, 44, of Man, West Virginia, was pronounced dead shortly before 1 a.m. May 19 shortly at a Welch hospital, according to a state Miners’ Health, Safety and Training office report. His head struck two different steel I-beams about 11 p.m. when he and another worker were traveling in an underground locomotive at a mine near Pineville in Wyoming County.

The accident happened in an area along the track where the roof clearance height drops from roughly 80 to 50 inches (200 to 130 centimeters). Investigators found there was no warning light, reflective sign or tape marking the spot where Rosser struck his head.

Although investigators believe he’d been trained, Pinnacle was cited for inability to provide paperwork showing Rosser received “adequate training” dealing with the track system, state mine safety office director Greg Norman said. Officials proposed a “special assessment” $10,000 fine for the citation.

While many coal-mining safety and health rule violations draw at most $5,000 fines under state law, special assessments of up to $10,000 may be issued in cases involving death, imminent danger or high degrees of negligence.

Mine officials didn’t immediately respond to The Gazette-Mail’s request for comment.