Wall Street reforms will open mining companies' safety records
New rules adopted Wednesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding the disclosure of company safety information will affect mine operators as well as the financial industry, according to an AFL-CIO blog post.
Writer Mike Hall says the new Wall Street reform law will make it difficult for big corporations involved in mining -- like the former Massey Energy -- to hide their safety records from shareholders and the public.
The changes are required under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
"The new rules require that companies provide information for each mine they operate that includes the number of significant and substantial violations the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has cited; any flagrant violations; failure to comply citations, imminent danger orders; the dollar of value of proposed fines and more," said Hall.
"Massey claimed to have an exemplary mine safety record. Yet following the April 2010 explosion at its Upper Big Branch (W.Va.) mine that killed 29 miners, MSHA’s record showed that both there and at its other Massey mines, health and safety violations were rampant."
An investigation uncovered the fact that Massey kept two sets of books -- only one of which recorded safety statistics accurately. The MSHA attributed the Upper Big Branch mine tragedy to a "corporate culture" at the company in which miners were intimidated from reporting hazardous conditions.
A West Virginia Governor’s Independent Investigation Panel (GIIP) also blamed Massey Management.