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Arch Coal cited in miner's death

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- An Arch Coal subsidiary has been cited by state investigators in the July death of a miner at an underground mine in Raleigh County, according to a report made public Thursday afternoon.The West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training cited Arch's ICG Beckley operation following an inquiry of the July 31 death of Gregory A. Byers, 43, at the company's Beckley Pocahontas Mine near Eccles.Byers was crushed to death when he was caught between the operator's compartment of a coal scoop machine and a mine wall. At the time of the incident, Byers was charging the battery of his scoop, when a second scoop hit his machine, causing it to slide into Byers.
State investigators concluded that the battery-charging station and a mine wall were placed in such a manner that Byers' scoop stuck out into the adjoining mine tunnel. Bags of rock dust used in the mine had been stacked on top of the second scoop, limiting the machine operator's visibility, investigators said.Agency officials issued eight regular notices of violation and four "special assessments" that typically carry larger monetary penalties. The state report did not list penalty amounts.Among other citations, inspectors alleged that a company survey team entered the area and disturbed evidence after the incident and before the state began its investigation.Reach Ken Ward Jr. at or 304-348-1702.
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