By Douglas Fritz
September 1, 2011 - After five years of being under a Pattern of Violations Notice (POV), the Affinity Mine in West Virginia has reached a settlement with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). The notice was issued Oct. 24, 2013. The settlement reached with MSHA terminated that notice on Aug. 28, 2018.
The Affinity Mine is run by Pocahontas Coal, which is a subsidiary of United Coal Company. According to a release, the mine has vastly improved its safety record over the past five years. The number of enforcement actions marked as significant and substantial is well below the national average. Affinity Mine manager Jeff Birchfield said he was relieved to hear the POV was terminated.
"The data clearly establishes that Pocahontas' Affinity Mine has worked diligently to improve its safety and regulatory compliance record," said Birchfield.
United Coal CEO John Schroder echoed Birchfield's sentiments.
"I am very proud of the Affinity Mine and its people," stated Schroder. "This is a first class mine that operates with high standards and true professionalism. To finally be released from the POV is a result of hard work and dedication toward having the best safety and compliance in the industry."
United Coal's director of safety, Don Jones, said the Affinity Mine is the only one in the country to remain operating while under a POV. The mine produces coking and steam coal.