NPR : News

Filed Under:

Feds Still Finding Problems At Old Massey Mines

Federal mine safety regulators have discovered false reporting of accidents and injuries at two West Virginia coal mines once owned by Massey Energy, which also owned the mine hit by a deadly explosion last year.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) says the Randolph and Justice No. 1 mines in Boone County, W.Va., inaccurately reported or neglected to report 24 injuries last year that resulted in 1,125 lost days of work.

If the injuries had been reported accurately, MSHA says, the mines would have been placed on a watch list and targeted for greater scrutiny. The watch list, known as the Potential Pattern of Violations list, requires efforts to reduce serious safety problems. If the problems persist, the level of scrutiny increases and the mines face immediate shutdowns when inspectors issue citations for safety failures that could cause injury or death.

MSHA suspected the deception and demanded internal Massey injury and accident reports. When the company refused, MSHA filed a complaint with an administrative law court, which ruled in the agency's favor.

Massey has since been taken over by Alpha Natural Resources. Alpha did not own or operate the mines when the false reporting took place. An Alpha spokesman tells NPR that the company is tracking down more information about the mines.

The Randolph mine was cited earlier this year for 25 serious safety violations that forced evacuation of areas of the mine and exposed miners to "serious risk to the threat of fire, explosion and black lung," according to federal mine safety chief Joe Main.

"The conduct and behavior exhibited when we caught the mine operator by surprise is nothing short of outrageous," Mainsaid.

Injuries and accidents were also under-reported at Massey's Upper Big Branch mine before the massive explosion in April 2010 that killed 29 mine workers.

MSHA has also demanded accident and injury records for two coal mines owned by Peabody Energy. The company has refused to provide the records for an Indiana mine and has been levied $4,000 a day in civil fines since June. MSHA says the fines will continue until Peabody complies.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

How Do You Spot A Nonconformist? You Can Start With Their Internet Browser

According to Adam Grant, a person's preferred browser is one way to tell whether they accept or reject the defaults in their life. His new book is called Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World.
NPR

Calif. Restaurant Gives Diners Ocean View — Up Close

The Marine Room is a restaurant right on the beach. When the tide is high, waves will literally hit the windows.
NPR

Clinton And Sanders Test New Campaign Tactics Ahead Of New Hampshire

Hillary Clinton is trailing Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire. The way they're campaigning in that state ahead of Tuesday's primary tells you something about how they're positioned in the race.
NPR

Super Bowl 50 Tightens Cybersecurity

This year's Super Bowl will be held in the most technologically advanced stadium in the world. FBI special agent John Lightfoot talks to NPR's Rachel Martin about the threat of cyber attacks.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.