The Truth About Upper Big Branch

An inquiry by the state of West Virginia into the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion that killed 29 workers has found the mine’s owner, Massey Energy, “profoundly reckless” in elevating its drive to produce profits above worker safety. Pervasive safety violations — from shoddy ventilation to slapdash control of explosive coal dust — made the mine “an accident waiting to happen,” according to a panel of experts reporting to the governor’s office.

“I’m set up to fail here,” one miner wrote in his work notes two weeks before the tragedy. He despaired at being one of only two part-time “rock dusters” tasked with controlling the mine’s volatile coal dust — a lethal problem for which company records showed a backlog of hundreds of safety work orders.

READ THE ENTIRE NY TIMES EDITORIAL

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