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March MSHA inspections found fewest violations yet

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Federal regulators say they issued fewer violations in March than in any other month since they began special impact inspections at problem U.S. mines.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration said Thursday it issued 155 citations and two orders at eight coal mines and four metal/nonmetal mines last month.

The impact inspections began after the Upper Big Branch mine explosion killed 29 men in West Virginia. That was three years ago this month.

MSHA director Joe Main says the results reflect a positive trend in overall mine safety. He says there are fewer chronic violators today, and death and injury rates are at all-time lows.

But Main says there are still plenty of operators who don't take responsibility for the safety and health of the miners they employ.