Friday, November 10, 2006

Charleston Gazette's Ken Ward on NPR This Evening Re. Mine Disasters

Charleston Gazette staff writer Ken Ward Jr. will be on NPR's All Things Considered this evening talking about recent mine safety issues, including his recent study (described here),about his investigation into mine safety that showed that 90 percent of mine deaths could have been avoided if safety regulations had been followed.

Tune in. If you miss it, you can go here later this evening and listen at your computer.

UPDATE: I liked this part the best:

Reporter Melissa Block: Would folks in the coal mining industry say, 'Look, this is inherently dangerous work, not everything is preventable and accidents happen that we could have never predicted.

Ward: They certainly do say that. In the case of Sago, that's certainly the story the the International Coal Group has tried to spread. The theory at Sago is that lightning caused that explosion and that's what killed those miners. But as a matter of fact, that mine had a number of electrical violations that had never been fixed that could have played a role in that lightning causing the explosion.


As a matter of fact, in 88%, almost nine out of ten of the deaths that I looked at, there were violations that caused the death, and had those violations not occurred, the deaths wouldn't have occurred. So saying "accidents will happen" is a nice sounding cliche, but until these violations are eliminated, I'm not sure that's really much solace to the miners that are dying.