Inspectors Find Serious Violations at Other Massey Mines

Federal inspectors have found more than 60 serious safety violations at mines owned by Massey Energy since an April 5 explosion at its Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia killed 29 workers.

Authorities have tentatively blamed the disaster on preventable accumulations of coal dust and methane gas, the Associated Press reports.

In visiting more than 30 underground mines, inspectors found conveyor belt problems, excessive coal dust build up and a crew working without methane monitors. Some Massey mines were free of violations, including the Tiller No. 1 mine in Virginia, where federal investigators last fall warned the company to improve safety or face increased enforcement.

The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training will conduct investigations of the state’s 200 underground mines starting Friday.

On Thursday President Obama said the government was partially responsible for the Upper Big Branch blast and ordered more coal mine inspections and a review of mine safety.

Earlier in the day, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and mine safety officials presented their preliminary findings on the disaster to the president. They found a “spike” in safety violations at the mine in 2009, with 515 safety citations issued that year and 124 in 2010, The New York Times reports.

Related: Congressman: Mine Safety Enforcement Stalled by Appeals
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Bridget Huber is a FairWarning contributor.

One comment to “Inspectors Find Serious Violations at Other Massey Mines”

  1. Daniel R. Cobb

    Is there a moment, a point where a certain number of dead people is one too many? For people like Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy, I wonder if there is some line, some threshhold where a certain level of anguish and agony resulting from Massey Energy’s abject failure to comply with mining safety rules (hundreds of failures and million in fines) is too much pain? I doubt it. Only a few months prior to this disaster, Blankenship was thumbing his nose at regulators, chiding them for their complaints and telling his employees that no one cares more about mine safety than he does. Tell that to the families of the 29 dead. And tell me why the state of West Virginia fails to protect its citizens from incredibly dangerous, apparently criminal organizations like Massey? And tell me when the travesty called “unregulated mining” will finally come to an end.

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