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MSHA completes internal fixes spurred by Upper Big Branch disaster

January 14, 2014

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Arlington, VA – The Mine Safety and Health Administration has addressed all of the 100 corrective actions recommended in its 2012 internal review following the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in April 2010, the agency announced Jan. 13.

MSHA’s review of its actions leading up to the explosion, which killed 29 miners, identified several missteps by agency personnel, including failure to examine portions of the West Virginia mine and failure to spot accumulations of coal dust, as well as flaws in the ventilation plan.

The agency said corrections have included revising and updating more than 40 policy directives, conducting more than 20 training sessions for MSHA employees, creating an oversight system for agency directives and policy guidance, and establishing a national mine rescue organization.

MSHA claims the improvements contributed to record-low mining injury and fatality rates in 2011 and 2012.