March 12, 2008 The Pump Handle 1Comment

On Thursday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee released a report on the Crandall Canyon mining disaster that claimed nine lives in Utah last August. (Celeste’s posts on the disaster are in our August archive.) A Salt Lake Tribune editorial opines that “Most damning is the revelation that the coal company ignored a direct order from an MSHA inspector and continued to carve coal from a barrier pillar that served as a roof support in the mine.” The SLT’s Robert Gehrke focuses on what MSHA did wrong:

Mine Safety and Health Administration officials yielded to pressure from officials with the mining company, appear to have sped up approval of mining in Crandall Canyon and backed off on safety enforcement actions, records obtained by the committee appear to show.

“MSHA missed significant flaws in [the company’s engineering] analysis, dismissed critical findings by MSHA’s own engineer and did not submit the plans – which proposed one of the most hazardous mining operations ever intended – for review by MSHA’s expert technical staff,” stated the report by the committee, chaired by Sen. Edward Kennedy.

In other news:

Chicago Tribune: Cintas Corp. has slapped the Unite Here union, which has been attempting to organize Cintas workers and calling attention to the company’s safety problems, with a racketeering lawsuit.

LA Times: A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences supports the theory that Gulf War Syndrome was caused by a group of chemicals soldiers were exposed to through pesticides, and anti-nerve-gas pills they were given.

Prince George Citizen: Three-and-a-half years after battling a fire on the Canadian submarine HMCS Chicoutimi, many of the surviving crewmembers are becoming ill with debilitating conditions.

Star-Tribune: A worker from a Nebraska meatpacking facility has developed the same puzzling neurological condition that afflicts workers from Minnesota and Indiana pork processing plants.

St. Louise Post-Dispatch: A trench collapse at the site of a new sewer plant killed Walter T. Eickelman, 48, of Benton, Ill., and Ron Yankey, of Ellis Grove, Ill. OSHA cited the construction site four months ago for inadequate safety measures.

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