USA: Massey Energy showed safety records to inspectors that hid known hazards at mine where explosion killed 29 workers
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Author: Liezel Hill, Mining Weekly
A coal mine explosion that killed 29 people...could have been prevented, US Department of Labour officials said on Wednesday...MSHA [Mines Safety and Health Administration] also said it discovered that the mine kept two sets of records, with reports of hazardous conditions often left out of the official books...Alpha Natural [which has acquired the mine's operator, Massey Energy] will look at the information made available by MSHA as part of its own review of the incident at Upper Big Branch, Alpha Natural spokesperson Rick Nida said. "We heard this information from MSHA at the same time that everybody else did," he [said]..."Our review is really in the early stages, we are just starting to assemble specialists as part of the team. And when the full MSHA report is made available, it will be part of the information the team reviews closely."...Eighteen managers from Massey Energy and subsidiary Performance Coal declined to be interviewed [for the govt. investigation]...
Author: Howard Berkes, National Public Radio [USA]
Federal mine disaster investigators disclosed a few pieces of new information Tuesday night from their year-long look at the April 2010 deadly Upper Big Branch mine explosion. They said that:
-- Mine owner Massey Energy [now part of Alpha Natural Resources] kept two sets of records that chronicled safety problems. One internal set of production reports detailed those problems and how they delayed coal production. But the other records, which are reviewed by federal mine safety inspectors and required by federal law, failed to mention the same safety hazards...
— Gas readings taken shortly after the explosion showed too little methane to support Massey Energy's claim that a massive, naturally-occurring and unpredictable inundation of gas caused the disaster...
An Alpha spokesman told NPR before last night's private briefing that the company would have no comment on any new information until after a public briefing set for 10 am ET today.
Author: Associated Press
Federal investigators say they have proof that Massey Energy [now part of Alpha Natural Resource] kept fake safety records to throw off inspectors at a West Virginia coal mine where 29 men died last year, the deadliest U.S. coal field disaster in four decades.
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