This sounds like just good common sense from Governor Manchin:
West Virginia closed all coal mining operations in the state for safety checks on Wednesday after a series of accidents that killed 16 miners in the last month.
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin announced the shutdown after three separate mine accidents in the state on Wednesday that left two miners dead and others injured.
“As a result of these three incidents, all of which occurred within just the last few hours, I am calling on the industry to cease production activities immediately and go into a mine safety stand down,” the Democratic governor told reporters at the state capital.
In Washington, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration called for coal mines across the country to take one hour before the start of each regular work shift this Monday to discuss hazards and safeguards that need to be taken in a national safety “stand down.”
CNN has the following account of the deaths:
Two miners died at two Boone County, West Virginia, mines Wednesday, including one man who was driving a bulldozer that struck a gas line and burst into flames, a federal spokesman said.
The bulldozer fatality occurred about 2:30 p.m. south of Charleston at the Elk Run’s Black Castle strip mine in Drawdy, said Dirk Fillpot of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.
The second death was reported in the early afternoon at the No. 18 Long Branch Energy underground coal mine, Fillpot said. No further details were available.
“Our hearts and prayers, and the hearts and prayers of every West Virginian, go out to the families of the two men that were lost today,” Manchin said.
A pause in production doesn’t just make sense, it is clearly necessary.
This sort of reminds me of how the (Republican) governor of Illinois declared a moratorium on executions, after DNA evidence started turning up one innocent person after another on death row.
Dear Lord that’s just awful.
For many, many years my mother worked at an explosives plant, and you’d better believe they were aggressive about safety; drills, escape routes, fire extinguishers and other safety equipment everywhere, and they encouraged all their employees to consider safety at all times, not just at work. They used to give prizes to employees who kept their driving records clean, for example. To this day the first thing my mom does when she arrives at a public place (store, movie theater, whatever) is check out where the fire extinguishers and exits are. It sounds like the mines need to get a program.
Good for the governer for taking action. I hope it’ll be effective.
The Other Steve
My guess is a mine shutdown for a few days is going to cost them a lot more in revenue than a few hundred thousand here and there spent on safety procedures and equipment.
Why do you hate the free enterprise system? Everybody knows that the free enterprise system solves all ills and government is inherently evil, right? Remember, greed is good. Those miners should be proud to lay down their lives for corporate profit. If they don’t like it, they should just get a job at McDonald’s for minimum wage.
There are those who worship the marketplace as a religion. The above is their viewpoint. Do not count me as one of them. I view the marketplace as a means to the end. When it does not fulfill the end (a happy and productive life for the majority of people), then We the People certainly should have the right to step in and say, “no, you can NOT kill people for profit!”. Murder is murder, whether it is done in the context of a marketplace or person-to-person in the streets.
– Badtux the Sometimes-snarky Penguin
Heard on the radio that the Feds are calling for a one-hour lecture to all mineworkers on Monday.
When there was a serious accident at my lab a year or so ago, everything got shut down for a week for saftey reviews. Then we didn’t do anything remotely possibly dangerous for a long time, and everybody on site got retrained in dealing with hazards and how to comply with the lab’s chain of responsibility and on and on for days.
One hour is a fucking joke.
For the first time I feel compelled to comment on this board, instead of lurking as usual. Mine safety is not my speciality, but I really, really must bring this to your collective attention. I am Canadian, and, just last week, we Canadians had our own not so little mine safety drama. You may have heard about it: 72 miners were trapped by a fire while they were working in a potash mine.
All of them survived.
I did a little research on potash; while I don’t know how it compares with coal as to how dangerous it is, it’s certainly not safe stuff. It’s partly composed of potasium, and potasium combusts violently when it comes in contact with water.
Yet all 72 miners survived. When the fire broke out, they made their way to a “safe room” where they were protected from the fire, and where they had ample supplies of oxygen, food, water, and medical supplies. While efforts were being made to put out the fire, they waited patiently for rescue, passing the time by playing card games. I’m not trying to minimize the danger these men were in; they were in great danger as long as they were in that mine. Yet all 72 miners survived.
Meanwhile,in West Viginia, 16 men are dead, and the Governor has ordered every coal mine in the state shut down. Now, could one of you “Muricans please explain to this crazy Canuck why 16 men in West Virgina are dead, while 72 men in Canada are alive?
So what’s going on here? Given that Bush drinks the blood of babies, and a bell rings in the White House every time a coal miner dies, then surely the state government of West Virginia realized that action was needed much sooner. Why hasn’t it? Why does the government of West Virginia hate coal miners? What does this say about the state’s safety regime? Where has the state been until now? Why hasn’t the state shut down the mines before? How can they possibly have sat back for so long, without acting? I noticed that the governor of West Virginia, a Mr. Ranchin, is a Democrat. Yes, that’s right, a Democrat. Or so he claims. I can only conclude that Mr. Ranchin is a Rove plant, installed illegally in the W.Va. Governorship, for the express purpose of making the Democrats look bad. That sonovabitch Rove has done it again.
And let’s get those oxygen masks in place, to help prevent incident’s like yesterday’s, when the bulldozer operator ran into a gas pipe. Murder is murder, and when a bulldozer operator hits a gas pipe, the murder occurred it’s because of those bloodthirsty market slaves in the Bush administration.