Nathan Dove, an underground coal miner, was electrocuted on Friday night at Massey Energy’s Aracoma/Alma mine in Melville, Logan County, WV.Â Mr. Dove wasÂ 24 years old.Â
This is the same mine which was given a safety award by MSHA about a month ago (seeÂ “Safety Awards Gone Bad” ) and in January 2006, was the place of death forÂ Mr. Don Bragg, 33 and Mr. Ellery Hatfield, 46.Â No information about the incident which killed Mr. Dove is provided yet on Massey’s, MSHA’s or the State’s webpages.
In my post,Â “Safety Awards Gone Bad”, I reminded readers that just one year ago,Â MSHAÂ issued a record-setting $1.5 million penalty against Massey for itsÂ âreckless disregard for safetyâÂ in the disaster which killed Bragg and Hatfield.Â Â BetweenÂ January 1, 2006 and April 1, 2008, this mine has been cited for nearly 1,200 violationsÂ of MSHA health and safety standards, with 665 of themÂ designated âserious and substantial.âÂ Moreover, this Massey operationÂ has been assessed more thanÂ $2,226,000 in monetary penalties, and theyâve only paid $35,651.Â The vast majority of theÂ violations are being contested, including the dozens of penalties associated with theÂ Aracoma Alma disaster which are classified asÂ âreckless disregardâ for minersâÂ safety.Â
Upon receiving MSHA’s safety award,Â Massey Energy’s CEO Donald Blankenship said:
âSafety is our top priority at Massey, and we are pleased that MSHA has again recognized our membersâ unwavering commitment to working safely everyday.Â Our Aracoma members had a very difficult year after the tragedy in 2006, but they responded by pulling together to create a culture of safety.â
This statement is BIG on “member’s” responsibility for safety, but fails to mention anything about theÂ company’s obligation.Â Â I hope this isn’t a hintÂ about howÂ Massey will spin the circumstances ofÂ the coal miner’s death.Â A “culture of safety” seems to only go so far, especially when aÂ worker is injured seriously or killed.Â Â Let’sÂ pray thatÂ “blame the victim” doesn’tÂ rear its ugly head.Â Â Â