(b) If upon any inspection of a coal mine an authorized representative of the director finds that there has been a violation of the law, but the violation has not created an imminent danger, he or she shall issue a notice to the operator or the operator's agent fixing a reasonable time for the abatement of the violation. If upon the expiration of the period of time, as originally fixed or subsequently extended, an authorized representative of the director finds that the violation has not been totally abated, and if the director also finds that the period of time should not be further extended, the director shall find the extent of the area affected by the violation and shall promptly issue an order requiring the operator of the mine or the operator's agent to cause immediately all persons, except those referred to in subdivisions (1), (2), (3) and (4), subsection (e) of this section, to be withdrawn from and to be prohibited from entering the area until an authorized representative of the director determines that the violation has been abated.
(c) If upon any inspection of a coal mine an authorized representative of the director finds that an imminent danger exists in an area of the mine, in addition to issuing an order pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the director shall review the compliance record of the mine.
(1) A review of the compliance record conducted in accordance with this subsection shall, at a minimum, include a review of the following:
(A) Any closure order issued pursuant to subsection (a) of this section;
(B) Any closure order issued pursuant to subsection (b) of this section;
(C) Any enforcement measures taken pursuant to this chapter, other than those authorized under subsections (a) and (b) of this section;
(D) Any evidence of the operator's lack of good faith in abating violations at the mine;
(E) Any accident, injury or illness record that demonstrates a serious safety or health management problem at the mine;
(F) The number of employees at the mine, the size, layout and physical features of the mine and the length of time the mine has been in operation; and
(G) Any mitigating circumstances.
(2) If, after review of the mine's compliance record, the director determines that the mine has a history of repeated significant and substantial violations of a particular standard caused by unwarrantable failure to comply or a history of repeated significant and substantial violations of standards related to the same hazard caused by unwarrantable failure to comply and the history or histories demonstrate the operator's disregard for the health and safety of miners, the director shall issue a closure order for the entire mine and shall immediately issue an order requiring the operator of the mine or the operator's agent to cause immediately all persons, except those referred to in subdivisions (1), (2), (3) and (4), subsection (e) of this section, to be withdrawn from and to be prohibited from entering the mine until a thorough inspection of the mine has been conducted by the office and the director determines that the operator has abated all violations related to the imminent danger and any violations unearthed in the course of the inspection.
(d) All employees on the inside and outside of a mine who are idled as a result of the posting of a withdrawal order by a mine inspector shall be compensated by the operator at their regular rates of pay for the period they are idled, but not more than the balance of the shift. If the order is not terminated prior to the next working shift, all the employees on that shift who are idled by the order are entitled to full compensation by the operator at their regular rates of pay for the period they are idled, but for not more than four hours of the shift.
(e) The following persons are not required to be withdrawn from or prohibited from entering any area of the coal mine subject to an order issued under this section:
(1) Any person whose presence in the area is necessary, in the judgment of the operator or an authorized representative of the director, to eliminate the condition described in the order;
(2) Any public official whose official duties require him or her to enter the area;
(3) Any representative of the miners in the mine who is, in the judgment of the operator or an authorized representative of the director, qualified to make coal mine examinations or who is accompanied by such a person and whose presence in the area is necessary for the investigation of the conditions described in the order; and
(4) Any consultant to any of the persons set forth in this subsection.
(f) Notices and orders issued pursuant to this section shall contain a detailed description of the conditions or practices which cause and constitute an imminent danger or a violation of any mandatory health or safety standard and, where appropriate, a description of the area of the coal mine from which persons must be withdrawn and prohibited from entering.
(g) Each notice or order issued under this section shall be given promptly to the operator of the coal mine or the operator's agent by an authorized representative of the director issuing the notice or order and all the notices and orders shall be in writing and shall be signed by the representative and posted on the bulletin board at the mine.
(h) A notice or order issued pursuant to this section may be modified or terminated by an authorized representative of the director.
(i) Each finding, order and notice made under this section shall promptly be given to the operator of the mine to which it pertains by the person making the finding, order or notice.
(j) Definitions. -- For the purposes of this section only, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) "Unwarrantable failure" means aggravated conduct, constituting more than ordinary negligence, by a mine operator in relation to a violation of this chapter of the code; and
(2) "Significant and substantial violation" shall have the same meaning as that established in 6 FMSHRC 1 (1984).
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.