HELP Report Criticizes Mine Operator, MSHA in Crandall Canyon Disaster

U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., issued a scathing report March 6 on the mining plan used by Murray Energy and approved by MSHA up to the time of the Crandall Canyon mine disaster on Aug. 6, 2007, in Utah. Six miners died in a powerful "bounce" -- a release of seismic energy -- and an MSHA inspector and two additional miners died in a second such event Aug. 16 during an attempted rescue.

Cecil Roberts, the United Mine Workers of America's international president, sid the report shows why the Supplemental MINER Act, known as S-MINER, should be passed by the U.S. Senate and enacted into law.

"The report says that the mining plan that led to the cave-in at the mine was flawed and should not have been submitted by the company nor approved by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, which echoes what the UMWA has said from the very outset of the investigation into the tragedy. Language in the S-MINER Act would strengthen MSHA's oversight regarding mining plans and provide extra accountability with respect to those who review and approve such plans," Roberts said. "The report also indicates that the mine's operator, Bob Murray, far overstepped his bounds before the tragedy occurred, and that MSHA did not take the proper action to stop him. Indeed, the report says that Murray 'bullied MSHA and got away with it.' The S-MINER Act contains language that clarifies and strengthens MSHA's role and responsibilities in emergency situations and in providing information to the families of miners who are caught in an emergency. The S-MINER Act also gives the agency more tools to use against operators who have a consistent pattern of violations of the law and regulations. We urge the HELP Committee to now take up the S-MINER Act as soon as possible and send it on to the full Senate. American coal miners are still dying just because they went to work. We need the enhanced protections the S-MINER Act provides. The terrible events at Crandall Canyon must never be forgotten and never be repeated."

Three leading Republican senators on the HELP Committee issued a statement saying they will wait for MSHA and the Department of Labor's inspector general to complete their reports on the Crandall Canyon disaster later this year. Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, ranking member on the committee, and members Orrin Hatch of Utah and Johnny Isakson of Georgia said Congress should not rush to judgment based on incomplete and unofficial evidence.

Download Center

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide

    Use this handy buyer's guide to learn the basics of selecting online safety training and how to use it at your workplace.

  • COVID Return-to-Work Checklist, Fall 2021

    Use this checklist as an aid to help your organization return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic in a safe and healthy manner.

  • SDS Buyer's Guide

    Learn to make informed decisions while searching for SDS Management Software.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Industry Safe

Featured Whitepapers

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - October 2021

    October 2021

    Featuring:

    • TRAINING
      On Route To Safe Material Handling
    • SAFETY CULTURE
      Normalization of Deviations in Performance
    • IH:INDOOR AIR QUALITY
      Arresting Fugitive Dusts
    • PPE:FOOT PROTECTION
      Safety Shoes Make the Outfit for Well-Protected Workers
    View This Issue