Richmond, Virginia-based coal mining company Massey Mines lost another coal miner in a tragic accident. An electrician working in the Pocahontas Mine in Greenbrier County, West Virginia (WV) was hit and killed by a shuttle car, according to the Register-Herald. This was the 40th coal miner killed in an accident this year and 31 of these deaths occurred at a Massey Mine.
A massive explosion at the Massey-owned Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County, WV killed 29 workers just a few months ago. This was the worst coal mine disaster in the United States in four decades.
What exactly happened to cause the shuttle car to barrel into the electrician at the Pocahontas Mine? No one knows at this point since the accident investigation is still being conducted. We do know that the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued the Pocahontas Mine over 160 safety citations this year and roughly one-third of these violations were considered serious. The same level of neglect was discovered at the Upper Big Branch mine which has been cited for 1,342 safety violations since 2005, according to the Washington Post.
There is no arguing the fact that coal mining is a dangerous profession, but that is no excuse for a company to ignore and circumvent basic safety regulations designed to keep coal miners safe. We will have to wait and see if any rules or regulations were violated in the tragic death of the Pocahontas Mine worker.