In a bit of sad news – the bodies of all 29 miners killed in an April 5th explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia were recovered, concluding an over weeklong rescue effort at the mine owned by Massey Energy.
This accident represents the deadliest coal mine explosion since 1970 when 38 workers were killed at a mine in Kentucky.
This latest incident raises fresh questions about the safety of coal mines, an industry plagued in recent years by accidents that have cost about 15 miners their lives.
Over the last few years, Massey Energy has been continuously cited for safety violations – including 57 in March. They paid out $4.2 million in fines and civil penalties just last year…the company claims they have an impeccable safety record while many workers maintain the company has a pretty “cavalier” attitude about safety.
At the state level, inspectors and investigators will now begin the process of determining what caused the explosion. President Barack Obama is tasking the Department of Labor and other agencies to report back to him on what can be done to prevent tragedies like this in the future. Congressional leaders are also calling for probes into what happened, including Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), who says the accident at the Upper Big Branch Mine shows that “…coal mining remains an unacceptably dangerous profession.”
Mining is also a big part of Colorado’s economy, including coal. Workers in many different areas mine for everything from coal to natural gas and other minerals. If you’ve been adversely affected by a mining accident and having trouble obtaining necessary benefits, contact Denver workers’ compensation attorney R. Mack Babcock today for a free consultation.