March 27, 2014 4th Circuit published opinion

Dickenson-Russell Coal Company, LLC v Secretary of Labor

Company was cited for failing to report an accident. It contested the citation, but, the administrate law judge upheld the citation. The panel affirmed. It held under the plain language of the regulation, 30 CFR 50.20(a), each operator at the mine site where the accident occurs has an independent duty to report. As Company did not report, it violated the regulation and was properly cited. The panel held that duplicative reporting was not absurd as it maximized the chances that accidents will be reported, facilitated the government’s ability to identify problem mines and prevented mine owners from contracting away their duty to report.

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