Thursday, December 20, 2018

Injury rates jump at coal giant Murray's West Virginia mines, Richard Valdmanis, Valerie Volcovici

(Reuters) - Injury rates have more than doubled at five West Virginia coal mines acquired by Murray Energy Corp. in 2013, according to a Reuters review of federal data, as the firm sharply increased the amount of coal produced per manhour.

Although injuries and productivity rates rose over the same period, the causes of the increase in injuries remain unknown and could include a host of factors in the complex business of underground coal mining.
Murray - the nation’s largest underground coal mining company with about 6,000 employees producing more than 60 million tonnes of coal annually - bought the mines from rival CONSOL Energy. Those mines now account for more than half the firm’s production.
Murray controls six other mines - in Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, and Utah - and each has an injury rate below the national average, according to the data. The company has won numerous safety awards in recent years, including from the U.S. government’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health in 2015.
Davitt McAteer, a mine safety expert in West Virginia who had directed MSHA under former President Bill Clinton, said that many factors could have played into the increased injury rates at the Murray mines in West Virginia.
“Those particular mines are decades old, meaning miners are having to work deeper, more complicated coal seams, with aging equipment and infrastructure,” he said, adding that such conditions are more dangerous for workers. Davitt McAteer & Associates

Who Is Caring For The Health And Safety Of Coal Miners?

Coal miner Doug Rutherford takes a break after his shift at a small mine on May 19, 2017 outside the city of Welch, West Virginia.
A multi-year investigation published by Frontline and NPR reached devastating conclusions about the outbreak of advanced black lung disease affecting Appalachia.
The report found that federal government regulators failed to respond to warning signs ahead of the outbreak. Regulators were “were urged to take specific and direct action to stop it.” But they didn’t.
From the story:
It’s an “epidemic” and “clearly one of the worst industrial medicine disasters that’s ever been described,” said Scott Laney, an epidemiologist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
“We’re counting thousands of cases,” he said. “Thousands and thousands and thousands of black lung cases. Thousands of cases of the most severe form of black lung. And we’re not done counting yet.”
The reporters spoke to Danny Smith, who spent about 12 years underground in the mines. His father suffered from the same disease.
Charles Shortridge, Diagnosed with black lung disease, worked in the mines for over 25 years.
Howard Berkes, Correspondent – Investigations, NPR, @hberkes
Davitt McAteer, Former Assistant Secretary, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), 1993-2000, retired attorney
Amy Harder, Reporter covering energy and climate, Axios; former reporter, The Wall Street Journal; @AmyAHarder
For more, visit
© 2018 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio. Davitt McAteer & Associates

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

An Epidemic Is Killing Thousands Of Coal Miners. Regulators Could Have Stopped It--NPR

An Epidemic Is Killing Thousands Of Coal Miners. Regulators Could Have Stopped It Davitt McAteer & Associates

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Update: 3 missing found alive in Raleigh County, WV, mine--WV NEWS

CLEAR CREEK — Officials with the state Office of Miners’ Health, Safety & Training said Wednesday evening that three people who have been in a mine in Raleigh County since Sunday have been located.
Efforts were underway to get the people out of the mine, and transport them for medical treatment, according to a release from the state Department of Commerce.
Reports came in earlier Wednesday afternoon that progress had been made in rescue teams' advancements into the Rock House Powellton Mine in Clear Creek.
Rescuers who entered the mine through an entrance in Raleigh County — near which an ATV was found Sunday, kicking off the search — had progressed around 4,000 feet into the mine, according to another release. The teams had established a fresh air base and continued to explore the mine Wednesday.
However, teams had been unable to enter the mine through the main entrance located nearby in Boone County, according to the release. Crews on the surface continued to pump water out of and air into the mine Wednesday, but the water was still too deep to traverse.
An update from the department Wednesday morning said one team had been set to go into the Boone entrance and two teams for the Raleigh entrance.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE>>> Davitt McAteer & Associates