Could Looking at Safety Violations Have Prevented the Massey Mine Explosion?
April 8, 2010
In a blog from earlier this week, our Southern California Labor and Employment Lawyers discussed Monday's mine explosion in West Virginia that killed at least twenty-five employees, and whether looking into last month's federal safety violations could have prevented the workers' deaths in the explosion.
According to safety inspectors, the conditions at Massey Energy Company were concluded last month to contain substantial and significant risks to the health and safety of miners before the explosion on Monday happened.
In the month of March, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration reportedly cited the mine for over 50 safety violations, 37 of which Massey appealed. Administration officials reportedly cited the Upper Big Branch South Mine, operated by Massey Energy Subsidiary, Performance Coal Co., for improper ventilation of the mine dust, failing to control coal dust accumulation, improper ventilation of the highly combustible methane gas, failing to maintain proper escape ways, neglecting to protect workers from roof falls, and allowing combustible materials to build up.
Scott Simonton, Marshall University's Professor of Environmental Science and Environmental Engineering stated that these violations have the potential of being very "relevant" to the explosion on Monday.
According to the New York Times, this is the deadliest mining accident seen in this country since a 1984 mine fire in Utah, in which 27 miners died.
Four people are still missing in the mine, and although rescue teams tried to enter the mine this morning, traveling more than four miles, they were sent back for safety conditions and unable to get a visual on the refuge chambers that need to be checked. The company, as well as state and federal mine safety officials will reportedly continue to drill to lower the concentration of potentially explosive gases, so the rescue team can re-enter the mine this evening.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration is currently investigating the health and safety conditions for workers in the Massey Energy-owned mine, as well revisiting the federal laws protecting miners from personal injury and danger, to prevent this kind of devastating accident from happening in the future.
In Orange County or throughout Southern California contact Howard Law, PC to discuss your employment or labor issue. Our Anaheim-based team of experienced attorneys and professionals are here to help.
Rescuers Hit Setback at West Virginia Mine, Wall Street Journal, April 8, 2010
Mines Fight Strict Laws By Filing More Appeals, The New York Times, April 6, 2010
Safety Inspectors Say Conditions at Massey Energy Mine Posed Significant Risks, Rivard Daily Mail Capitol Reporter, Charleston Daily Mail, April 6, 2010
MSHA Appoints Team to Investigate Upper Big Branch South Mine Explosion, MSHA- New Release, 04-07-10
Deaths at W.Va. Coal Mine Raise Safety Issues, New York Times, April 6, 2010
Miners' Families Grapple With the News, and The Pain, The New York Times, April 6, 2010
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