Main says violations at US coal mines down in 2011

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Coal operators across the country are changing the way they work and mines are becoming safer. But the head of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration says there are still many who "don't get it."

MSHA chief Joe Main said Thursday in Charleston that those who don't can expect to face tough penalties.

He says if a federal inspector can identify dangerous conditions, so can operators. He says they need to take ownership and fix problems before MSHA finds them - and before a miner is injured or killed.

But Main says preliminary data for 2011 show improvements.

Mining citations and orders totaled 157,894 in 2011, down from 171,373 the year before.

Citations and orders at underground coal mines totaled 76,732 in 2011, down from 80,079 the year before.

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