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 Post subject: They were too busy picking on Anty miners...
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 6:57 pm 
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Location: My own little hole in ground.
MSHA failed Crandall miners in Utah, review says
Charleston Gazette - WV, USA
By Ken Ward Jr.
July 24, 2008


CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sloppy mining plan reviews, lax inspections and a disorganized rescue effort by the federal Department of Labor contributed to the August 2007 deaths of nine workers at a Utah coal mine, according to an independent review made public Thursday evening.

Bush administration budget cuts, staffing reductions at labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration, and an emphasis on "compliance assistance" over enforcement played a role at the Crandall Canyon Mine and in an upsurge in coal-mining deaths over the past three years, according to the report.

Retired MSHA officials Earnest Teaster and Joseph Pavlovich praised the hard work and dedication of rank-and-file mine inspectors, but their 200-page report echoed other serious criticisms of a deterioration in federal mine safety efforts in recent years.

"The agency did not remain vigilant in its efforts to prevent future accidents through inspections and plan review activities," Teaster and Pavlovich concluded.

The independent review, commissioned by Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, was released just hours after MSHA issued the report of its own investigation into the mine collapse at Crandall Canyon.

Citing major engineering deficiencies, overly aggressive mining practices and a disregard for warning signs that led to a catastrophic collapse of roof support pillars in the more than 2,000-foot-deep mine, MSHA fined a Murray Energy subsidiary a record $1.6 million for "high negligence" and "reckless disregard."

Richard Stickler, acting assistant labor secretary for MSHA, harkened back to the persistent statements from mine owner Bob Murray, who repeatedly told nationwide television audiences that a natural earthquake had caused the disaster.

"It was not, and I'll repeat, it was not a naturally occurring earthquake," Stickler told reporters in a news conference after briefing the victims' families on his agency's findings.

MSHA officials also charged that mine operators misled regulators about potential dangers at the mine. By not reporting three previous and significant "bumps" - including one three days before the Aug. 6 disaster - Murray Energy's Genwal Resources "denied MSHA an opportunity" to investigate and require tougher safeguards, the agency said in its report.

Previously, though, reports by Senate and House committees and by the Labor Department's inspector general faulted MSHA for lax oversight at the mine, especially in approving the company's roof-control plan.

Also in their report, Teaster and Pavlovich found that MSHA improperly evaluated the information that Murray Energy did provide, and missed at least one of the earlier bumps because of an incomplete inspection.

In a response, also issued Thursday, Stickler said that while MSHA did not agree with all of the independent review's findings, many of the recommendations were helpful and some already have been adopted by his agency.

Six miners were entombed by the Aug. 6 collapse while working in the extremely deep mine in central Utah. Ten days into a rescue effort, a second major collapse killed three rescue workers, including a federal mine inspector. MSHA halted all rescue efforts on Aug. 31.

It was the third coal-mine disaster - defined by MSHA as a single incident that kills five or more workers - in a 19-month period in 2006 and 2007. The death of 12 workers at West Virginia's Sago Mine in January 2006 was the first U.S. coal-mining disaster since September 2001. Before that, the last coal-mining disaster was in December 1992, when eight miners died in an explosion in southwestern Virginia.

Nationwide, 97 U.S. coal miners have died in the past three years. So far this year, 16 miners have died, twice the number of deaths in the coal industry at the same time in 2007, according to MSHA data.

MSHA cited Genwal Resources for nine violations that agency inspectors concluded contributed to the disaster, including five listed as "high negligence" and four that involved "reckless disregard" for safety rules.

Federal investigators alleged that the company did not provide adequate pillars to hold up the mine roof, used faulty methods to mine coal from pillars left in the mine, and did not propose revised safety plans after at least three previous bumps, when pressure from the ground above pushed mine pillars out in a violent "coal outburst."

MSHA fined Genwal an additional nearly $300,000 for 11 other, noncontributing violations.

The mine's engineering firm, Agapito Associates, was fined $200,000 for a contributing violation. MSHA said the firm performed a faulty analysis of the mine's design.

On the web:

MSHA Accident Report: http://www.msha. gov/Fatals/ 2007/CrandallCan yon/CrandallCany onreport. asp

Independent Review: http://www.msha. gov/CCReview/ CrandallCanyonIR .asp

Briefing Paper: http://www.msha. gov/Genwal/ ccSummary. asp

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:21 pm 
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:idea: :idea: :idea: Well I have the solution to MSHA's problem. Since they have two guys in Wilkes-Barre that know the laws inside and out and do one heck of a job enforcing them (ask any Anthracite Deep Miner) why don't they transfer them west of here. :arrow: There talents shouldn't be wasted on us here. We will all be sad :cry: to see them go but if it's that bad out there they better get to work.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:02 pm 
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Browsing through several of the reports on the subject today. It would appear there is plenty of blame to go around.

The independent report is most interesting as is the history of mining drawing.


http://www.msha.gov/Fatals/2007/Crandal ... endixD.pdf


One point I found very interesting since most reports try to paint Bob Murray as the devil in flesh and personally responsible. (Murray Energy has only purchased an interest in the mine a year or so earlier.) MSHA admits that citations at the mine were below the national average. That wee fact didn't come out in the media.

Also the fact that the mine had been active since 1983 and would appear to have been in the very final stages of mining. I haven't seen it in print but from the drawings I wouldn't given them more than a year of coal at most .

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