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 Post subject: 2 more miners die in vw, mines closed
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 3:35 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 2:34 pm
Posts: 6906
Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
2 more miners died in wv yesterday. the state closed all the mines until more safety precautions are taken

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 5:24 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:12 am
Posts: 385
that sucks! :(

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:33 pm
Posts: 3088
Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine

Mine deaths spur call for 'stand-down'
West Virginia governor asks for emergency review after 2 die

(CNN) -- West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin has called on all mines in his state to halt operations until thorough safety checks are made, following the deaths of two miners on Wednesday.

"We're going to correct any unsafe conditions before we mine another lump of coal," the governor told reporters. "There's not going to be another miner going in a mine until this is done." (Watch as the governor announces the emergency plan -- 2:42)

He said his office was also filing emergency rules that "are the next step in implementing the mine safety legislation that was passed by the Legislature last week." (Full story)

The West Virginia Coal Association wholeheartedly supports the governor's initiative, said the group's senior vice president, Chris Hamilton, Thursday.

Mine officials will "engage the miners ... try to solicit their ideas and their recommendations, as well as ... take the opportunity to go over the mining plans ... safe work procedures and habits, and ... bring everybody up-to-date over these," Hamilton told CNN.

Under review are safe rooms and escape facilities in underground mines, he said. But, he said, the U.S. mining industry has been improving workers' safety lately, providing greater amounts of oxygen, more self-contained breathing apparatus and upgrading firefighting equipment.

According to its Web site, the West Virginia Coal Association represents more than 90 percent of the state's underground and surface coal mine production.

West Virginia, the second largest U.S. producer of coal, produced 153.6 million tons of coal at 544 mines in 2005, according to the association.

In the latest accidents, both in Boone County, a bulldozer operator was killed after hitting a gas pipeline, which burst into flames. That accident, now under investigation, happened south of Charleston at the Elk Run's Black Castle strip mine in Drawdy, West Virginia, said Dirk Fillpot of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The second death happened when a wall support broke loose underground at the No. 18 Long Branch Energy underground coal mine near Danville, West Virginia, about 35 miles southwest of Charleston, Fillpot said.

Separate incidents on Wednesday in Boone County also left two other miners injured, said Matt Turner, spokesman for the state Office of Miners' Health Safety and Training. The county is the state's top coal producer.

In all, 16 West Virginia mine workers have died in accidents in the last month, compared with three in all of 2005, said Turner.
Compliance with governor expected

Starting with the morning shift on Thursday, the company said its mines and shipping facilities in West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois and Maryland "will begin each shift with an in-depth safety review."

The governor's call to suspend production was voluntary, but Manchin spokeswoman Lara Ramsburg said Wednesday night that "We have had no company so far tell us that they aren't going to do so."

Inspections by state and federal teams will start immediately, she said. Normally, each mine is inspected quarterly.

"Our goal is to do it as quickly as possible," Ramsburg said.

She said 350 underground and 200 surface mines have current permits to operate in West Virginia.

Wednesday night, David Dye, acting assistant secretary for the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, asked coal mines nationwide to conduct an hour-long "timeout" Monday, in the wake of recent accidents.

Dye said the agency is sending additional mine-safety inspectors to West Virginia to respond to the unusually high number of mine fatalities there this year.

"I am asking miners and management at every mine operation to do the right thing: Take one hour out for safety's sake this Monday," Dye said in a written statement. "Be proactive in preventing future accidents and saving lives."

Every mine, he said, should review "the hazards involved with mining and the vital safeguards that need to be taken."

"Our hearts grieve for the families of the miners who have lost their lives," he said. "We will provide all the help we can, and we'll conduct a thorough investigation of each accident."

CNN's Ronni Berke contributed to this report.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:13 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:33 pm
Posts: 3088
Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine ... index.html

West Virginia mines take safety timeout

Thursday, February 2, 2006; Posted: 7:08 p.m. EST (00:08 GMT)

CHARLESTON, West Virginia (AP) -- Thousands of West Virginia miners got safety lectures at the start of their shifts and officials began a round of inspections across the No. 2 coal-producing state Thursday in a "time-out" urged by the governor.

Sixteen West Virginia miners have been killed over the past month in what is already the deadliest year in the state's coalfields in more than a decade.

Gov. Joe Manchin said he was pleased that mining companies were heeding his request to suspend production and hold discussions to reinforce safety. Some companies said they spent a half-hour to an hour talking safety before sending their miners to work.

Consol Energy spokesman Thomas Hoffman said safety talks were held at the beginning of each shift at its mines in West Virginia and elsewhere around the country. Some 6,000 miners companywide were expected to participate by Thursday night.

"This is a small industry, a kind of band-of-brothers industry, so when an accident happens, everybody knows about it," Hoffman said. "It's a good time to talk about it."

Massey Energy Inc., the state's largest coal producer, said its safety discussions focused on escape routes, firefighting and the use of emergency air packs. Also, the company's miners were asked to perform safety checks on their equipment and work areas. Massey subsidiaries have suffered three deaths this year.

Mines are inspected every three months in West Virginia, but Manchin ordered the state mine-safety office to speed up checks for safety problems at the state's 544 mines.

Inspectors planned to focus first on those with higher-than-average accident, injury and violation rates. They will also examine such things as escape routes, conveyor belts and logs. Each inspection can take a few days to a few weeks.

Federal officials also asked coal mines nationwide to conduct a time-out, or "Stand Down for Safety," on Monday. Officials from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration said that 113 inspectors will oversee the hour-long reviews in West Virginia wherever possible.

Another 100 federal officials are being sent to the state for inspections and emergency training, authorities said.

"We are very concerned about what is going on in West Virginia," said David Dye, acting U.S. assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.

West Virginia, which is second only to Wyoming in coal production, has 229 surface and 315 underground mines and about 24,000 coal miners. The number of mining deaths in West Virginia is up sharply from the record low of three last year.

Twelve miners died after the Sago Mine explosion on January 2; two were killed in a conveyor belt fire two weeks ago; and two more were killed in separate accidents on Wednesday.

The latest deaths came just before Manchin filed emergency rules needed to carry out the mine safety law he signed last week. The legislation passed in a single day in response to the January accidents.

Among other things, it requires coal companies to provide miners with emergency communicators and electronic tracking devices, and to store extra air supplies underground. Also, companies must report mine accidents within 15 minutes.

West Virginia's congressional delegation is pushing for similar federal provisions.

"If these tragedies continue, mines could be closed and coal and energy production could falter ... the consequences could ripple throughout the nation's economy," said Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-West Virginia. "We cannot delay."

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