Asarco LLC has received 51 citations for health and safety violations at its Hayden copper concentrator operation, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration announced today.
An Asarco official said the company is contesting most of the violations and that safety is the company’s top priority.
The mine-safety agency cited the Asarco plant for 15 “significant and substantial” violations and 36 non-significant violations.
A significant and substantial violation is defined as one “likely to result in a reasonably serious injury or illness” under the circumstance of the violation. Significant violations can result in fines of thousands of dollars each, but the citations can be contested before any fines are levied.
Asarco spokesman Tom Aldrich said four of the citations involved contractors working on site at the concentrator, which employs about 500 Asarco workers.
Of the 47 citations lodged against Asarco, three have already been vacated and the company is contesting 28, Aldrich said.
A detailed report on the Asarco citations was not immediately available. Aldrich didn’t have further details about the serious citations but said many of the violations were minor, such as an empty fire extinguisher that had already been replaced but wasn’t yet collected for refilling.
“Asarco is very committed to safety, and it’s the number one priority for Asarco and all of its employees,” Aldrich said.
He said Asarco has an incident rate of 0.7 injuries per 100 full-time workers this year, compared with the national average of 0.96 for the mining industry overall.