MSHA Expands Investigative Team; Massey Wants Public Hearing

The Mine Safety and Health Administration also has formed an internal review team to examine its actions in connection with the Upper Big Branch Mine before the April 5 explosion there.

MSHA made a dual announcement today, saying it has created a supplemental investigation group to help its accident investigation team determine what caused an April 5 explosion at Massey Energy Company's Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County, W.Va., and also has formed an internal review team to examine MSHA's actions prior to the explosion. Massey today issued a statement calling on MSHA "to conduct its investigation through a public hearing, rather than through closed door sessions."

The MSHA announcement said the supplemental group will be headed by Robert Phillips, who was manager of MSHA's Coal Mine Safety and Health District Office in Vincennes, Ind. before retiring after a 27-year career at the agency.

"We need to use every available tool to establish the cause of this tragedy that took 29 coal miners' lives," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "The work of this special team will be part of MSHA's investigative process, and it will give family members and others the opportunity to share information they might otherwise not feel comfortable passing along." According to MSHA, Phillips' team will monitor and respond to an anonymous tip line through which victims' relatives and members of the general public can share information that may be relevant to the accident investigation. The phone number is 877-827-3966.

Massey's statement said the coal company "strongly supports the principle that the investigation into the Upper Big Branch accident must be independent, honest, and aggressive. Transparency is an important element of this process, and we accordingly call for MSHA to conduct its investigation through a public hearing, rather than through closed door sessions. To be credible, any such hearing must also be fair. Any hearing must encompass the basic principles of due process. To the greatest possible extent, basic protections must be in place to ensure that the hearing develops a complete and balanced public record. Massey supports a hearing that is fair and credible, as well as open and transparent."

The internal review team's leader is Jack Kuzar, manager of the Coal Mine Safety and Health District Office in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • The Top 5 Safety and Technology Trends to Watch

    Get the latest on trends you can expect to hear more about in 2019, including continued growth of mobile safety applications, wearable technology, and smart PPE; autonomous vehicles; pending OSHA recordkeeping rulemaking; and increased adoption of international safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • Analyze Incident Data

    Collect relevant incident data, analyze trends, and generate accurate regulatory reports, including OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 logs, through IndustrySafe’s extensive incident reporting and investigation module.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January / February 2019

    Featuring:

    • PREVENTING ERRORS
      Production vs. Safety 
    • EMERGENCY SHOWERS & EYEWASH
      Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment
    • CONSTRUCTION SAFETY
      The State of Contractor Safety
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      The Three Keys to Effective Chemical Management
    View This Issue