LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A published report says state investigators found few problems at a Harlan County mine where federal investigators found enough violations during a surprise safety blitz in May to shut the facility down for nine days.
The Courier-Journal reports an analysis it did shows that state inspectors reviewed conditions at the mine 30 times in more than two years.
After the federal blitz, however, the state did a surprise inspection at K & D Mining Inc.'s Mine No. 17 in Highsplint and found 37 violations. According to records obtained through the Kentucky Open Records Act, officials found more violations during that one inspection than did five earlier inspections in 2012 and about 24 inspections in 2010 and 2011.
Meanwhile, federal inspectors have issued about 400 citations to the mine since 2010.
Office of Mine Safety and Licensing Director Freddie Lewis said previous inspections should have been more vigorous, and the agency will be more vigilant. He said an inspector has been reprimanded for failing to report hazards at the mine
"Everybody should have done a better job, I'm sure," said Lewis, who was appointed in March. "We have a lot of really good employees here. Their hearts are in it ... but every once in a while, it's easy to get complacent on any job."
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