What happens when companies don’t pay federal safety fines? The feds can go to court to get an order for the company to pay up.
That’s what just happened to D&C Mining of Harlan County, KY. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) went to federal court because the company owed $1.67 million in unpaid civil penalties along with interest and administrative costs.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky has ordered D&C to pay MSHA a total of over $2.1 million.
In March 2012, the Labor Department, which includes MSHA, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky filed a complaint against D&C that the company owed the money for 1,244 violations cited between Jan. 24, 2006 and Feb. 8, 2012.
D&C has undergone 10 impact inspections by MSHA since April 2010, more than any other mining operation in the U.S. Impact inspections target mines that need of increased attention and enforcement due to poor compliance history or compliance concerns, according to MSHA. The agency began conducting these inspections in April 2010 in the wake of the deadly Upper Big Branch Mine explosion.
As part of the judgment against it, D&C must also post bond with MSHA to guarantee future compliance with the Mine Act, including the payment of final orders issued for any violations.
D&C had owed a total of $2.7 million in MSHA fines, but paid $1.1 million to the agency.
In November 2012, MSHA issued a letter notifying D&C that a potential pattern of violations existed. If MSHA conducted an inspection within 90 days of that notice and found a significant and substantial violation, MSHA would order miners to withdraw from the affected area until the cited condition had been corrected.