(a) For the purposes of this section, the term "accident" means:
(1) The death of an individual at a mine;
(2) An injury to an individual at a mine which has a reasonable potential to cause death;
(3) The entrapment of an individual;
(4) The unplanned inundation of a mine by a liquid or gas;
(5) The unplanned ignition or explosion of gas or dust;
(6) The unplanned ignition or explosion of a blasting agent or an explosive;
(7) An unplanned fire in or about a mine not extinguished within five minutes of ignition;
(8) An unplanned roof fall at or above the anchorage zone in active workings where roof bolts are in use or an unplanned roof or rib fall in active workings that impairs ventilation or impedes passage;
(9) A coal or rock outburst that causes withdrawal of miners or which disrupts regular mining activity for more than one hour;
(10) An unstable condition at an impoundment, refuse pile or culm bank which requires emergency action in order to prevent failure, or which causes individuals to evacuate an area, or the failure of an impoundment, refuse pile or culm bank;
(11) Damage to hoisting equipment in a shaft or slope which endangers an individual or which interferes with use of the equipment for more than thirty minutes; and
(12) An event at a mine which causes death or bodily injury to an individual not at the mine at the time the event occurs.
(b) Whenever any accident occurs in or about any coal mine or the machinery connected therewith, it is the duty of the operator or the mine foreman in charge of the mine to give notice, within fifteen minutes of ascertaining the occurrence of an accident, to the Mine and Industrial Accident Emergency Operations Center at the statewide telephone number established by the Director of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management pursuant to the provisions of article five-b, chapter fifteen of this code stating the particulars of the accident: Provided, That the operator or the mine foreman in charge of the mine may comply with this notice requirement by immediately providing notice to the appropriate local organization for emergency services as defined in section eight, article five of said chapter, or the appropriate local emergency telephone system operator as defined in article six, chapter twenty-four of this code: Provided, however, That if, immediately upon ascertaining the occurrence of an accident, the operator or the mine foreman in charge of the mine provides notice to the local organization for emergency services as defined in section eight, article five, chapter fifteen of this code, or the appropriate local emergency telephone system operator as defined in article six, chapter twenty-four of this code, then, in order to comply with this subsection, the operator or mine foreman in charge of the mine shall also give notice to the Mine and Industrial Accident Emergency Operations Center at the statewide number identified in this subsection within fifteen minutes of completing the telephone call to the local organization for emergency services or the appropriate local emergency telephone system operator, as applicable: Provided, further, That nothing in this subsection shall be construed to relieve the operator from any reporting or notification requirement under federal law.
(c) The Director of the Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training shall impose, pursuant to rules authorized in this section, a civil administrative penalty of $100,000 on the operator if it is determined that the operator or the mine foremen in charge of the mine failed to give immediate notice as required in this section: Provided, That the director may waive imposition of the civil administrative penalty at any time if he or she finds that the failure to give immediate notice was caused by circumstances wholly outside the control of the operator: Provided, however, That the assessment of the civil administrative penalty set forth in this subsection may be appealed to the Board of Appeals, and the Board of Appeals may, by unanimous vote, reduce the amount of the civil administrative penalty upon a finding of mitigating circumstances warranting the imposition of a lesser amount.
(d) If anyone is fatally injured, the inspector shall immediately go to the scene of the accident and make recommendations and render assistance as he or she may deem necessary for the future safety of the men and investigate the cause of the explosion or accident and make a record. He or she shall preserve the record with the other records in his or her office. The cost of the investigation records shall be paid by the Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training. A copy shall be furnished to the operator and other interested parties. To enable him or her to make an investigation, he or she has the power to compel the attendance of witnesses and to administer oaths or affirmations. The director has the right to appear and testify and to offer any testimony that may be relevant to the questions and to cross-examine witnesses. Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session