Feds find mining company at fault for worker's death in 60-foot fall

The Associated PressNovember 17, 2011 

FAIRBANKS -- A federal agency has determined a mining company is to blame for a June accident in which a 39-year-old worker was killed.

The U.S. Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration reported Thursday that Michael J. Murray died because Fairbanks Gold Mining Inc. failed to have procedures in place that would have prevented the death at the Fort Knox mine.

Murray died while sweeping in the crusher building, falling 60 feet through a maintenance hatch. The hatch cover had been removed eight days before to increase ventilation. Investigators say there were no warning signs or handrails on one side of the open hatch. Corrective actions have been taken.

Fort Knox spokeswoman Lorna Shaw says they will contest the findings, and added the conclusions didn't match those of their internal investigation.

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