Mine Safety Administration Evacuates 3 West Virginia Mines

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Massey Energy Co., owner of the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia that killed 29 workers in early April, was caught recently operating three other mines where safety rules were violated and miners had to be evacuated by inspectors for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

Arriving unannounced, and in two locations seizing company phones so workers could not alert staff underground, MSHA investigators probed conditions at the three mines where “serious violations” were found, prompting officials to pull people out of the shafts. Numerous citations were issued by federal inspectors.
The evacuated mines were the Road Fork #51 mine in Wyoming County, the Randolph Mine in Boone County and the Cook Mine, also in Boone County.
MSHA said each of the surprise visits was prompted by anonymous tips that the agency received about conditions at the Massey-owned mines. “What’s especially troubling is that one of the complaints came in just days after the explosion at Upper Big Branch Mine,” said Joseph Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.
In response to the MSHA’s findings, Massey said it fired or suspended several employees of the three mines.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Coal Miners Evacuated After Surprise Inspections (by Mannix Porterfield, Beckley Register-Herald)


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