West Virginia mine cited for myriad safety violations
By The Post's Steven Mufson, Jerry Markon and Ed O'Keefe:
The West Virginia mine where at least 25 workers died Monday in an explosion was written up more than 50 times last month for safety violations, including seven times for failing to follow and maintain a mine-ventilation plan.
Federal regulators and members of Congress said they would examine the safety history of Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch coal mine south of Charleston, the site of the worst U.S. mining accident in a quarter-century. Meanwhile, rescue efforts were set to continue Wednesday to find four missing mineworkers.
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III (D) said crews would drill thousand-foot boreholes to ventilate methane, the deadly and highly combustible gas that has built up in the mine since the explosion and forced rescue teams to suspend recovery operations. Manchin described the explosion as "horrific," and state and federal officials said it would be a "miracle" if anyone survived.
Massey Energy says on its Web site that its safety record has been better than the industry average for six consecutive years, with its workers losing less time on the job through work-site accidents than its competitors. But the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration cited the Upper Big Branch mine for 1,342 safety violations from 2005 through Monday and proposed $1.89 million in fines, according to federal records.
| April 6, 2010; 11:11 PM ET
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