May 28, 2010 2:33 PM by Greg Boyce

Surprise inspections must remain a surprise

A federal judge has ordered a Kentucky mining company to stop alerting miners to surprise inspections by federal regulators.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove in London, Ky., issued the order Friday barring Manalapan Mining Co. from warning underground miners that inspectors are on site. The tips are a violation of the federal Mine Safety and Health Act. The order stems from a mine inspection blitz last month after the nation's worst coal mining disaster in 40 years. The blast at Massey Energy Company's Upper Big Branch mine in southern West Virginia killed 29.

The U.S. Department of Labor sued Manalapan Mining over the warnings in April. Attorneys for Manalapan Mining said a statement would be released later Friday.


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