Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 23, 2012

Panel faults MSHA enforcement prior to explosion


Associated Press

CHARLESTON (AP) — A team of experts says the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration could have prevented or reduced the likelihood of an April 2010 explosion in southern West Virginia that killed 29 miners.

The team was appointed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health a month after the April 2010 explosion to examine MSHA’s internal review of its actions at the Upper Big Branch mine. The explosion there was the worst U.S. coal mining disaster in 40 years.

The report says if MSHA had done timely enforcement of laws and regulations prior to the explosion, “it would have lessened the chances of — and possibly could have prevented” the explosion.

An MSHA spokeswoman didn’t immediately comment on the report, first reported by The Charleston Gazette (http://bit.ly/GKNpUz).