Thursday, April 8, 2010

NO NEED TO 'TURN OVER ROCKS,' JUST CHECK THE VIOLATIONS ALREADY ON RECORD

Union-buster Massey Energy cited 2118 times for safety violations
by Tim Wheeler, April 7, 2010


Standing near the portal of the Massey Energy mine where at least 25 miners have died in a deadly explosion, Joe Main, assistant labor secretary for Mine Safety and Health, vowed to "turn over every rock" to get to the bottom of the cause of the April 5 tragedy.

That's a lot of rocks, Joe, when the tally-sheet of violations
already in your hands totals over two thousand, just for this mine. Maybe you ought to leave the portal-standing to someone who matters to mine safety.


Possibly, you could get back to the office and become relevant.

Remember Stan Suboleski? A former Commissioner of yours, who now sits on Massey Energy's Board.

They keeping a chair warm for you, Joe?


Since 2005, Massey Energy as a whole, has been cited for 38,997 safety violations in its 35 underground and 12 mountaintop removal mines.

MSHA "proposed" fines totaling $43.5 million for those violations but the company contested the vast majority of these fines, 85 percent in 2007, for example. MSHA, then packed with former coal company executives, backed down. Massey, as one critic put it, "got away, literally, with murder," paying a combined total of only $11.8 million over that five year period.

Why the 'proposed' fines, Joe?


What's the pointof even
having  a Cabinet position that includes Mine Safety and Health, when it trades violations for money and doesn't even require compliance?

On
average, Massey Energy has amassed 1,142 violations per mine over the past five years. Maybe it's time to require 30 or 45-day mine closings, with Massey paying their miners during that period, so miners don't go hungry for violations that put them at risk.


Deaths are headline makers. Injuries and health issues merely pile up without a whimper from authorities.

Bureau of Labor Statistics) More serious injuries and illnesses generally require days away from work to give the worker time to recuperate. . . The rate in bituminous coal underground mining was 444.7, and the rate in anthracite mining was 358.6 per 10,000 full-time workers.
There are 47,000 coal miners working today. 20,900 coal miners suffered injury in 2006. 

"Our creativity on safety is second to none," Blankenship (Massey Energy CEO) said to CNN in a low drawl on Tuesday.


Well, I guess that says it all on the part of Don Blankenship, who reported $24 million in salary and stock options in 2007 




Even in a low drawl, c
reativity is the rich man's way to avoid compliance.