A supervisor at a Western Kentucky coal mine has been fined $2,000 for falsifying a safety-inspection record.

Daniel Couch Jr. also was placed on probation for two years, according to a court record.

Couch was chief of maintenance at the KenAmerican Resources Paradise No. 9 mine in Muhlenberg County when the violation occurred.

On May 17, 2016, an inspector from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration checked a record book and saw there had been no inspection of the belt drive at the underground mine the week of May 1 through 7, according to a court record.

Couch was supposed to do a weekly inspection of the line.

That’s important because if the line doesn’t run as it’s supposed to, fires can break out “in an environment with zero margin of error,” said Russell M. Coleman, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.

The federal inspector checked again two days later and the log book indicated Couch had inspected the belt line on May 7 and seen no hazards, but he had not done the inspection, the indictment charged.

Cough pleaded guilty to a felony charge of making a false statement in the record.

“Falsifying safety records puts our miners at risk and will be federally prosecuted,” Coleman said in a news release.

U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr., sentenced Cough Nov. 17.

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