MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- The Mine Safety and Health Administration said Friday it issued 286 citations and orders during October inspections at 13 coal mines in seven states.
The so-called "impact inspections" involve mines with poor compliance histories or other problems that worry regulators.
Since April, when 29 men died in an explosion at Massey Energy Co.'s Upper Big Branch mine in southern West Virginia, MSHA has conducted 160 impact inspections nationwide.
"One of the lessons we've learned is that business as usual won't change the behavior of mine operators who game the system and refuse to take seriously their responsibility for miners' safety and health," said agency chief Joe Main. "This has been a wake-up call for even the most resistant mine operators."
The most problematic of the nation's 14,500 mines in the past year has been Left Fork Mining Co.'s Straight Creek No. 1 Mine in Bell County, Ky. MSHA has ordered it to close 92 times between Nov. 1, 2009, and Oct. 31, 2010.
In May, a federal judge ordered Left Fork's parent, Manalapan Mining Co., to stop warning underground miners that inspectors had arrived on site.
Main said his inspectors successfully seized phone lines at the eastern Kentucky mine on Oct. 29.
That inspection resulted in 15 citations for violations related to belt alignment and defective rollers, roof control, fire protection, calibration of a gas detector, equipment maintenance, and electrical and ventilation issues.
MSHA also issued five orders relating to such issues as the accumulation of explosive materials, equipment maintenance and venting.