The United States worst industrial accident since 1970 took place in about 30 miles south of Charleston West Virginia at 3:27pm. In a mine called The Upper Big Branch
What happened was there was an explosion which was caused by a spark which ignited a high level of methane gas.
This resulted in the death of 29 men. That's 29 men who didn't make it home to their families on April 5th 2010 for supper.
Dad's who would never see their kids again and the big question is could this have been prevented.
One of the things that really stands out and has caught the attention of the press is the company "Massey Energy" has had a terrible safety record.
Just look at this.
2009 - fined $382,000.00 for ventilation and equipment infractionsIn the last 5 years this company had 1342 safety violationsBetween 2005 and 2009 there were also 2 other fatalities As you can see Massey Energy and the head of the company Don Blakenship have decided to ignore safety and have the attitude that it is business as usual. Or is it?
So what went wrong at the Upper Big Branch mine. Why wasn't this mine closed down with so many safety violations? What is being done?
The big thing that went wrong was that there was a very poor ventilation system in the mine to get rid of methane gases in the mine.
The concentration of methane gas and air was at just the right point to cause the explosion.
What was happening is that workers were told when inspectors were coming around so they could move the monitors into fresh air and the readings would be within allowable safety limits by the time the inspectors got there.
Let's face it an industrial accident is likely to occur when safety standards,practices and procedures are ignored. It is just a matter of how big it is going to be.
That is one of the big questions that is being asked of OSHA.Where did the system fail.
One of the reasons that safety infractions and industrial accidents can continue to happen is that companies can contest the violations and this can not only go on for months but years.
That is what Massey Energy used as a strategy. Also if a company has a safety violation and is contesting it. That violation is not included in the companies overall reporting for that year.
It soon becomes a total nightmare for OSHA as they do not have the manpower.The laws need to be changed.
Another thing that needs to happen is that a Whistle Blower policy needs to come into effect. What is that?
This is where workers are protected for reporting workplace safety violations. You shouldn't be allowed to be fired for protecting yourself and others from an industrial accident.
In Canada it is a legal requirement to report unsafe conditions and unsafe acts and failing to do so can lead to not only fines but also jail time.
It is everyone's responsibility to ensure a safe workplace.Business owners, CEO's, Management and workers can all be fined, jailed or both for a serious enough safety offense.
After reading about the United States worst industrial accident since the 70's. How do you feel about business owners who continually neglect safety policies.
Do you feel that they should be held accountable and maybe even face criminal charges? We would love for you to Share your opinion with us!