Production resumes at mine where two were killed - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Production resumes at mine where two were killed


SOPHIA (WVVA) - A Raleigh County mine where two miners were killed in separate accidents February has been given permission to reopen.

United Coal Co. resumed production at the Affinity mine in Sophia after receiving the OK from state and federal officials, according to a statement released by the company on March 5.

The mine had been idled since an accident in mid-February killed a Fayette County man.

On Tuesday, Feb. 19, Shuttle Car Operator John Myles, 44, of Hilltop, died from injuries he received in an accident also a scoop. 

Myles was hit by a scoop as he shoveled coal ribs. 

Less than two weeks earlier, on Friday, Feb. 8, 43-year-old Edward L. Finney of Bluefield, Va., died as a result of injuries sustained in an accident in which he was crushed to death while pushing a scoop bucket insert full of trash onto a hoist. The hoist moved unexpectedly, reportedly picking up the scoop and trapping Finney underneath. 

Following the second fatality -- and the sixth statewide in under three months -- W.Va. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ordered a safety stand down at the state's mines.

According to the release, the workers' first day back was to be devoted to task re-training.

Following is the full release from Affinity:

United Coal Co. resumed production at the Affinity mine after receiving permission to reopen the mine by state and federal officials. United Coal is dedicated to a safe work environment at the Affinity mine.  As employees return to work, their first day back at the mine is being devoted to task re-training with the support of management.  We are conducting thorough reviews and training on safety protocols, and management continues to be in close contact with employees.  Our goal is to ensure employees are confident in their work environment and focused on their tasks as they return to work.

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