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Driller’s death leads to $360,000 in fines

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U.S. Department of Labor

A New York rock drilling company has agreed to pay $360,000 in penalties related to the 2012 death of a 30-year-old driller, the U.S. Department of Labor said in a Thursday statement. 

The man employed by Catskill, New York-based North American Quarry and Construction Services L.L.C. became entangled in the rotating drill steel and suffered fatal injuries when he tried to manually load a threaded drill steel into the mast of a drilling machine at the pit, the Labor Department said.

The Labor Department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration determined that, before the accident, the company intentionally removed an emergency-stop switch from the drill and that the driller was assigned to work alone under hazardous conditions, according to the statement.

North American Quarry agreed to accept three flagrant violations and one “high” negligence violation, the Labor Department said. The contractor’s foreman also agreed to pay $6,000 in penalties to settle a fatal mining incident that occurred in 2012.

“Miners should not have to risk their lives to earn a living,” Jeffrey S. Rogoff, regional solicitor for the department in New York said in the statement. “This case demonstrates how important it is to train miners for the hazardous tasks they are assigned to perform.”

Representatives from North American Quarry declined comment.