An Idaho mine operator says it plans to contest citations and fines totaling $1 million levied by the federal government in the wake of a miner’s death earlier this year, the Associated Press reports in an article reprinted in The Oregonian. The violations that led to the citations, in turn, raise wrongful death questions and are a reminder for us here in Oregon that mine operators and other employers in hazardous industries have, at all times, both a legal and a moral obligation to do everything they can to keep employees safe.
The 53-year-old victim, a 12-year veteran of the mine according to AP, died last April after a cave-in at the place where he and his brother were working, approximately one mile underground. The two “had just finished watering down blasted-out rock and ore in the mine in the Idaho Panhandle before the collapse,” the news agency writes.
The miner’s job involved “drilling holes in a rock face, blasting it to rubble, then carting the debris to the surface to be processed into silver, lead and zinc.”