Wednesday, August 13, 2003

MSHA Issues Quecreek Mine Accident Report

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a final report on the Quecreek Mine accident that trapped nine miners in the mine for 77 hours.
A federal report more than a year in the making concluded inaccurate, abandoned maps caused last summer's Quecreek Mine accident.

But the Mine Safety and Health Administration report issued Tuesday also cited the coal mine's owner, PBS Coals Inc., mine operator Black Wolf Coal and Musser Engineering for negligence. MSHA also castigated state permitting procedures for weaknesses that contributed to the accident that nearly killed 18 Somerset County coal miners.
Fines have not been determined yet, although
Unlike the state, which recently issued a report with no findings against the mine owners, their consultants or the mine operator, MSHA issued negligence violations against PBS, Black Wolf and Musser for failing to provide accurate, certified abandoned mine maps.
The report, which has not yet been seen by the United Mine Workers, is not without controversy:
MSHA also dismissed a Pennsylvania Deep Mine Safety engineer's contentions that PBS representatives showed him a more accurate map of the abandoned mine, but refused to file a copy of it with the state and consistently ignored his warnings that they had not provided a final certified abandoned mine map. Although the Pennsylvania Inspector General's Office issued a report stating that engineer Tom McKnight's statements appeared credible, Lauriski said his team could find nothing to support them.

Safety experts from the United Mine Workers said they had yet to see the MSHA report but were concerned that the Inspector General's report was getting short shrift. Lauriski, who noted his team was not given the Inspector General's report until the final days of its probe, insisted MSHA did everything it could to investigate it.
More here on the report and here is a previous report about the mine.