UPDATE: 25 dead, 2 hurt, 4 missing after mine explosion
This incident comes after a record-breaking year of safety last year and an excellent track record for the last half a dozen years.
On the company’s Web site, its front page points out that in 2009, Massey recorded an all-time best NFDL incident rate (a measure of lost-time accidents) of 1.67.
“This is an improvement over last year’s rate of 1.93, our previous best result,” Massey has posted on its Web site. By comparison, the bituminous coal mining industry average NFDL rate was 2.95 in 2008. 2009 marked the 6th consecutive year and the 17th year out of the past 20 years in which Massey’s safety performance was stronger than the industry average,
Elizabeth Chamberlin, Massey vice president of safety and training, notes on the site: “We strive for sustainable excellence in safety. It is our top priority every day. We are proud of our tradition of developing safety innovations, which we freely share with others to the benefit of the entire industry.”
However, even with an excellent safety record this coal mine incident has the potential to not only tarnish the coal industry’s reputation but mining as a whole.
The entire mining industry has always struggled with a negative image. But after the tragic Sago coal mine explosion and Aracoma Coal Alma No.1 coal mine incident, both in 2006, and Utah and Indiana coal mine incidents in 2007, legislation and federal regulations have been rampant and mining has been brought more into the public eye.
In reaction to the the Sago incident, The Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006, was passed in May of that year in an effort to further protecting the safety and heath of the nation’s mineworkers.
However, coal mining and aggregate mining are very different, and sometimes the various types of mining aren’t differentiated and a “one-size-fits-all” mentality unintentionally creates unnecessary and unfair burdens on the regulated community. This was a major concern after the Sago incident because the construction aggregates industry is subject to the federal Mine Safety and Health Act, which has an extensive set of regulatory requirements.
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