Just a week after the final report on the West Virginia Massey Energy mine explosion was released, the company's former security chief was sentenced to three years in prison. He was convicted of obstructing the criminal investigation into the deadly accident that killed 29 miners.
The explosion occurred in the Upper Big Branch Coal mine on April 5, 2010; investigations proved that the incident was a result of at least 253 safety violations. In September 2011, former Massey miner Thomas Harrah was sentenced to 10 months in prison for forging a foreman's license in order to perform safety examinations in Upper Big Branch. Another Massey official, Gary May, was charged last week with conspiracy to violate mine safety standards and cover up the hazards that resulted from security breaches. This week, Hughie Elbert Stover, who was convicted last October, received his sentence for making a false statement and ordering the destruction of over 50,000 documents in the wake of the mine explosion. In addition to jail time, Stover will have to face two years of probation and a $20,000 fine.
Unfortunately, the explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine was only unique in that it was the deadliest mine accident in the country in over four decades. All too often, large corporations sacrifice safety standards in favor of profit-making, resulting in injuries to their employees and, occasionally, cover ups of their wrongdoings. If you or someone you love has been injured on the job as a result of unsafe conditions, you may be entitled to compensation. An industrial accident lawyer from Arnold & Itkin can review your case free of charge to advise you on your best course of legal action.
Contact an industrial injury attorney at the firm today for more information.