The final report on a 2010 West Virginia mine explosion that killed 29 workers was released Thursday, just one day after federal prosecutors charged the mine's former superintendent with fraud. Prosecutors indicated they would also be going after other employees of Massey Energy, the company that owned the mine at the time of the explosion.
The explosion, which occurred in the Upper Big Branch Coal mine on April 5, 2010, was a result of at least 253 safety violations. The violations combined to allow for a build-up of explosive methane and coal dust in the mine. The deadly combination of gas and dust was ignited by worn cutting material sparking when it moved through sandstone.
The latest report came just one day after Gary May of Massey was charged with conspiracy to defraud the government. He was accused of disabling a methane gas monitor, falsifying safety records and helping conceal unsafe conditions during safety inspections by tipping off underground miners about surprise visits. May is apparently cooperating with prosecutors, who are saying the investigation of criminal wrongdoing is far from over. So far, only one other Massey employee has been charged with any crimes.
People who work in high-risk industries understand the dangers facing them each day, but they also trust their employers to manage those risks by maintaining strict safety standards. When employers put profits ahead of worker safety, disaster occurs, as was the case in Upper Big Branch and a tragic 2005 explosion at BP's Texas City oil refinery, which killed 15 workers.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an industrial accident as a result of negligence on the part of your employer, an
industrial injury lawyer can help determine whether you are entitled to financial compensation.
Contact an industrial injury attorney from Arnold & Itkin today for a free and confidential consultation.