NSC expo
Subscribe or Register
View Cart  

Earn recertification points from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals by taking a quiz about this issue.

What's Your Opinion?

Should employers' injury and illness data be made public?

Take the poll and add your comment.

Vote   Results

Get the news that's
important to you.

Sign up for Safety+Health’s free monthly newsletters on:

  • Construction
  • Health Care Workers
  • Manufacturing
  • Mining, Oil and Gas
  • Office Safety Tips
  • Transportation
  • Worker Health and Wellness
  • Subscribe today

    MSHA shares blame for UBB explosion: report

    March 28, 2012

    • / Print
    • Reprints
    • Text Size:
      A A

    Washington – Proper enforcement from the Mine Safety and Health Administration might have prevented the fatal April 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, concludes a new report.

    The report (.pdf file), released March 23, was written by an independent panel of experts assembled by NIOSH at the request of Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. On March 6, MSHA released an internal review (.pdf file) that acknowledged enforcement shortcomings due to budget cuts, inexperienced inspectors and management turnover, but found MSHA was not to blame for the explosion.

    The panel report agreed that Massey Energy Co. – UBB’s owner at the time – was responsible for the explosion, but stated, “…if MSHA had engaged in timely enforcement of the Mine Act and applicable standards and regulations, it would have lessened the chances of – and possibly could have prevented – the UBB explosion.”

    Although MSHA could not have prevented the ignition, enforcement could have cut off the fuel sources – accumulations of methane and coal dust, according to the report.

    The panel criticized MSHA’s internal review for failing to address whether a more effective enforcement effort would have prevented the explosion, and recommended MSHA create an independent monitor to oversee implementation of corrective action.

    Post a comment to this article

    Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy.