A federal court has issued a permanent injunction against a Pike County coal mine in response to allegations from the Mine Safety and Health Administration that the mine was giving advance notice of inspections. When miners have advance notice, they can quickly rectify unsafe conditions to pass inspection. That’s what MSHA says was happening at CAM Mining’s Mine Number 28, where the agency went to investigate complaints that miners were smoking underground.
A temporary restraining order was already in place at the mine. The permanent injunction means that the mine operators are barred from warning underground workers that inspectors are on site. This is already illegal, but involving the federal courts increases the severity of the punishment. The federal judge who issued the injunction also ordered a copy be posted at every communication device in the mine.