Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Most Recent Mine Tragedy

It is sad that so many miners continue to lose their lives in coal mines. Apparently, the Massey Energy Co. and Don Blankenship own that mine and it has had a large number of safety violations.

Washington Post

....Massey has frequently been cited for safety violations, including about 50 citations at the Upper Big Branch mine in March alone. Many of those 50 citations were for poor ventilation of dust and methane, failure to maintain proper escape ways, and the accumulation of combustible materials.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration cited the mine for 1,342 safety violations from 2005 through Monday for a total of $1.89 million in proposed fines, according to federal records. The company has contested 422 of those violations, totaling $742,830 in proposed penalties, according to federal officials.....

...Blankenship is also a longtime foe of unions, earning the enmity of union leaders. The mine where the accident took place Monday is a nonunion mine....

The union mines have safety requirements that are followed every minute of every single day. Labor unions protect workers and provide them with a safe working area and a livable wage. Perhaps having a union mine would have also saved these lives.