Chase Sentenced for Falsifying Mine Safety Records

Sean A. Chase is on two years of supervised release for falsifying safety records at Tunnel Ridge Mine in Ohio County.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II, said Chase, 32, of Spencer, W.Va., was convicted earlier this year of making false representations and certifications on mine safety records and one count of false statements to a federal agent.

According to investigators, Chase claimed to be a mine foreman and qualified to perform mine safety exams while working at the Tunnel Ridge Mine, but he held no such certification. Chase also claimed he took the mine foreman examination and was issued a foreman card and foreman number.

Ihlenfeld praised the efforts of the investigators and encouraged anyone with knowledge of this type of offense to bring it to the 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,” he said.

Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, said accurate mine operator examinations of workplaces by 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,” he said.

This 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.