Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Sago Mine Disaster: By The Numbers

2 years

273 safety Violations

$24,000 in penalties ("corporate pocket change")

1 dead, 12 missing

Safety Violations Have Piled Up at Coal Mine

Time and again over the past four years, federal mining inspectors documented the same litany of problems at central West Virginia's Sago Mine: mine roofs that tended to collapse without warning. Faulty or inadequate tunnel supports. A dangerous buildup of flammable coal dust.


In the past two years, the mine was cited 273 times for safety violations, of which about a third were classified as "significant and substantial," according to documents compiled by the Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Many were for problems that could contribute to accidental explosions or the collapse of mine tunnels, records show.


Other inspection reports over the past two years fault the mine for "combustibles," including a buildup of flammable coal dust and a failure to adequately insulate electric wires. Sparks from electrical equipment can ignite coal dust and methane gas, triggering fires and explosions.

The mine is contesting some of the violations, while agreeing to pay more than $24,000 in penalties to settle others.

The Republicans have decimated OSHA. I'd get a bigger fine for speeding on the Massachusetts turnpike than a coal company would get from OSHA for endangering the lives of its workers. Shame.

1 comment:

Subcomandante Bob said...
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