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Ohio County, WV miner who falsely claimed to be certified to perform safety checks sentenced to two years of supervised release

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A coal miner who claimed to be a mine foreman qualified to perform mine safety exam while working at Tunnel Ridge Mine in Ohio County has been sentenced to two years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II said Sean A. Chase, 32, of Spencer, West Virginia, admitted to making false representations and certifications on mine safety records and making false statements to a federal agent.

Investigators said Chase was not certified to perform safety checks, nor had he taken and passed the foreman examination.

Ihlenfeld credited the efforts of investigators and encouraged anyone with knowledge of this type of offense to bring it to teh attention of authorities.

“We must do everything we can to protect our coal miners, including prosecuting individuals who break the law for their own financial gain,” said Ihlenfeld, who praised the efforts of the investigators and encouraged anyone with knowledge of this type of offense to bring it to the attention of authorities.

Joseph A. Main, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, said accurate mine operation examinations of workplaces by properly certified individuals “are a cornerstone of the Mine Act, and are required to protect miners from injury, illness, and death.”

“MSHA appreciates the efforts of the U.S. Attorney to keep miners safe by holding examiners accountable when they falsify records and attempt to mislead Agency investigators,” Main said.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration, and the West Virginia Office of Mine, Health, Safety and Training and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Perri.

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