Miner Who Reported Unsafe Conditions Faces Discipline

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HARLAN, Ky. (AP) -- The Office of Mine Safety and Licensing is asking that an eastern Kentucky miner who reported safety violations be put on probation, because he worked in unsafe conditions.

Mackie Bailey faces a hearing in February with the state Mine Safety Review Committee, which could put his mining certificate on probation for a year.

Bailey's attorney, Tony Oppegard, told the Lexington Herald-leader state officials are "trying to punish the whistle-blower."

Dick Brown, the spokesman for the Cabinet that contains the Office of Mine Safety, wouldn't comment on why Bailey was charged because the case is pending.

Bailey says he reported unsafe conditions at the Harlan County mine after a co-worker died in June 2011. The company, Manalapan Mining, and three supervisors have pleaded guilty to violating federal safety laws.

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