Tag: Coal Mining

On Making Mining Safer, Part Two, Or, “Can We Appeal Safety To Death?”

It was about a week ago that we last got together to talk about safety in coal mines, and we have some new developments in the story that deserve a bit more of your attention.

As we discussed last time, there are a huge number of hazards inherent in the operations of underground coal mines, and there are a series of “mitigators” that can be applied to reduce those hazards.

Ironically, the biggest hazard these miners face today might not be underground at all.

In today’s story we’ll consider the possibility that the most dangerous location in the mining industry might actually be at the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, where an enormous backlog in enforcement actions is keeping dangerous mines open that might otherwise be closed.

It’s a “bad news, good news” story-but it really does have a potential happy ending, and with a bit of pressure, we can actually make life a whole lot better for miners, and their families, all across the country.  

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – Confederate History Month

Crossposted at Daily Kos


This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?

2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?

3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.

:: ::

Nate Beeler, Washington Examiner, Buy this cartoon

On Making Coal Mining Safer, Or, “It’s The Fines, Stupid!”

By now more or less everyone is aware that there has been a disastrous mining accident in West Virginia this week.

There are many people dead, and at the time this is written it is still possible that survivors might be found.

We don’t know much about why these disasters happen, for the most part, and we don’t really understand how to make things better.

Today, I’m here to fix some of that.

By the end of today’s story, you’ll understand a lot more about why people die in mines than you do now-and as an extra bonus, we’ll also discuss a radical new way to bring market forces into the process of making mines safer.

Coal Mining Disasters: A Comparison

I do the news practically every day and like all editors I control what I cover- I don’t do missing white women and high speed helicopter chases for example.  I don’t do industrial accidents except to point out the greed, stupidity, and disregard for human life and the environment of the owners.  It was with that in mind that I elected to cover the recent Chinese Coal Mining Disaster (29, 30, 31) because they have a notorious reputation (pet food and drywall anyone?).

And yet yesterday we had a miracle that I duly reported

2 China hails ‘miracle’ as 115 rescued from flooded mine

by Marianne Barriaux, AFP

1 hr 10 mins ago

XIANGNING, China (AFP) – More than 110 workers were pulled out alive from a Chinese coal mine on Monday in what has been hailed as a miracle rescue over a week after the men were trapped by an underground flood.

So far, 115 survivors have been rescued from the mine in China’s coal-mining heartland of Shanxi province, state media said. Some apparently survived on tree bark and at least one worker strapped himself to the wall with a belt.

The news from Shanxi, where 153 workers were trapped when the unfinished mine flooded on March 28, was a rare bright spot for an industry known for its poor safety record and more than 2,600 deaths recorded last year.


Today we have this-

25 dead in W.Va. mine blast, worst since 1984

By LAWRENCE MESSINA, Associated Press Writer

1 min ago

MONTCOAL, W.Va. – Rescue teams planned to search again for four workers missing in a coal mine where a massive explosion killed 25 in the worst U.S. mining disaster in more than two decades, though officials said Tuesday that the chances were slim that the miners survived.

The suspended rescue mission would resume after bore holes could be drilled to allow for toxic gases to be ventilated from Massey Energy Co.’s sprawling Upper Big Branch mine about 30 miles south of Charleston, state and federal safety officials said.

“All we have left is hope, and we’re going to continue to do what we can,” Kevin Stricklin, an administrator for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, said at a news conference. “But I’m just trying to be honest with everybody and say that the situation does look dire.”

Which I will also cover because of the greed, stupidity, and disregard for human life and the environment of the owner.

h/t Attaturk.