As an 11-year veteran of the Mine Safety and Health Administration and a member of MSHA’s Mine Emergency Unit since 2007, I have responded to a number of mine fires and explosions around the country, the most disastrous being the Upper Big Branch blast in 2010 that killed 29 coal miners.
Cities and towns beset by natural disasters or catastrophic events immediately turn to their community’s first responders to coordinate and execute rescue and recovery efforts.
The practice is no different when a calamity occurs in an underground mine.
Preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration indicate that 28 miners died in 2015 in work-related accidents at the nation’s mines, down from 45 in 2014.
The fatal explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in 2010 shocked the nation. It was the worst mine disaster in the United States in decades, with 29 coal miners losing their lives. Earlier this month, jurors in West Virginia sent a clear message that no mine operator is above the law when they found former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship guilty of conspiracy to willfully violate mine health and safety standards.
Former Massey Energy CEO could get 31 years in prison in Upper Big Branch mine deaths
October 1, 2015
The former CEO of Massey Energy Co. goes on trial today in U.S. District Court in Charleston, West Virginia in a case that could set a precedent for corporate higher-ups being held accountable for the safety of their workers.
Miners need to know that when it comes to mine rescue and response in our nation, we’ve got your back. As part of our efforts to improve mine rescue capabilities throughout the U.S., the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has opened a new mine rescue station in Madisonville, Kentucky, to serve mining operations in the Midwest in the event of a mine emergency.
Testing their readiness for worst-case mine rescue scenarios, 65 teams from 12 states put their skills and knowledge to work in the 2015 National Coal Mine Rescue, First Aid, Bench and Preshift Competition in Lexington, Kentucky this week.