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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Federal regulators are urging U.S. coal companies to refocus on health and safety regulations after three mine fatalities in three days last week.

In West Virginia, a miner was hit on the head by a piece of equipment and became that state's sixth fatality this year. In Illinois, a miner died when a motorized cart flipped and pinned him. In Wyoming, a dozing driver went over a 150-foot high wall.

It's the first time since 2002 that the industry has recorded three deaths in three days.

Mine Safety and Health Administration director Joe Main called the deaths, which come amid the ongoing government shutdown, troubling.

Fewer than half of that federal agency's employees are on the job, and inspections are largely focused on mines with a documented history of problems.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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