Mine inspectors not getting the real story, according to former Massey employee
Testifying before a U.S. House of Representatives field hearing, a former employee of Massey Energy Co. claims that federal mine inspectors are not getting an accurate view of mine conditions on their visits because company foremen are being warned of the inspections beforehand. The former employee—whose son was one of 29 miners killed in the explosion on April 5th at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine—reported that, as soon as an inspector from the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the word is spread. He says violations are then quickly corrected, or inspectors are steered away from the problem areas.
Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) called testimony from the family members of the deceased miners critcal to the committee’s investigation. These family members described the fear miners felt about going to work in conditions they believed were unsafe, and they were afraid to speak up about dangerous conditions because they believed Massey would retaliate. The families also shared their own perspectives on how to make the mines safer and enforcement more effective in the mining industry.