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3-year anniversary of West Virginia UBB mine disaster


Posted On behalf of The Bell Law Firm, PLLC on April 10, 2013 in Coal Mining Accidents

Just three years after the horrible explosion at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine - also referred to as the UBB mine - some are questioning why mine safety reforms have yet to be implemented.

On April 5, 2010, there was an explosion at the UBB coal mine in West Virginia, reportedly caused by methane gas and coal dust. The incident resulted in the deaths of 29 miners. After the explosion, blame was placed both on the company that operated the mine and the Mine Safety and Health Administration. The MSHA is responsible for overseeing mines and investigating claims of unsafe working conditions.

Since then, legislation has yet to be enacted to impart stricter regulations to ensure mine safety. Recently, members of the House of Representative introduced a bill again that would allow the MSHA greater leeway. The bill would allow for harsher penalties when a mine frequently violates safety regulations and would allow particularly dangerous mines to be shut down.

Despite the lack of new regulations, the MSHA has reported that the number of people killed and injured in mining accidents reached all-time lows in 2012. Although that news may have seemed promising, it was also short-lived. Already this year, the MSHA has warned that it has seen a sharp increase in the number of fatalities caused by mining accidents across the country.

When someone is injured or killed in a mining accident, the injured party or his or her family may be entitled to compensation for the harm caused. In such situations, consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney can ensure their rights are protected.

Source: NPR, "Mine Safety Reform Stalled Three Years After Deadly Blast," Howard Berkes, April 8, 2013.

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