MSHA Report Raises Safety Questions About Mine

By: Jon Sonnheim
By: Jon Sonnheim

A recent MSHA report raises safety questions about a Knott County miner's death earlier this year.

It was this past July when 28 year old Jason Mosley died in a surface mining accident. A 30 foot rock fell on to the cab of his high wall drill, at the Smith Branch Number One Mine in Knott County.

A mine safety advocate is now saying Mosley's death could lead to changes in the industry.

But those WYMT talked to say Mosley was more than just a miner.

Jason Mosley's death has not been easy on 6 year old Cody Baker or his sister Jade...
his mother Evelyn.

"Jason wasn't their biological father, but he was everything that a dad could ever be and they knew him as daddy," Evelyn Mosley said.

But their daddy won't be making it home for the holidays.

A recent MSHA report about the accident that took Mosley's life says "Inadequate onshift examinations were performed" and "Mine management failed to assure that the positioning of the highwall drill was in accordance with the ground control plan".

An accident one mine safety advocate says could have been prevented if federal laws would mandate surface mines to make pre-shift examinations, just as underground mines are required to do.

"In Jason's case, had there been a pre-shift requirement, hopefully the company would have observed the fact the high wall was unstable," Tony Oppegard said.

"If changes can be made to prevent this from happening to anybody else, I'll push it all the way," Evelyn Mosley said.

Oppegard says rollover protection on a highwall drill could also have possibly saved Mosley's life.

He hopes more mine safety legislation will be enacted to save the lives of other husbands and
other daddies.

Attempts to reach Leonard Hendrickson, the owner and operator of Hendrickson Equipment and Smith Branch Number One Mine were unsuccessful Tuesday night.


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