Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Mine Rescue Devices: False Promises?

Randal McCloy, the lone survivor of the Sago disaster reported that at least four of the breathing devices used by his crew did not work. The lone survivor of the Kentucky incident last week reported the same thing.

MSHA, however, says they're wrong, the devices worked fine.

That didn't sit well with Randy McCloy's wife:
Report after report has shown the rescuers did not work like they are supposed to. At Sago, of the miners who escaped the mines that day, a quarter of their respirators did not work. Why? My husband remembers four of the rescuers of his fellow miners failing as they were trapped. Why? In Kentucky, the lone survivor wore his rescuer but told his family that it worked only for a few minutes. Why? At Sago, investigators said that not all of the available oxygen was used. Why?

Yet in all cases, MSHA and various company officials continue to say the rescuers were tested and had operated properly. This doesn't add up.

There is a problem. We need more answers than 'we tested them and they worked'.

We can't continue to send miners into the mines with a false promise that these rescuers are going to work when they need them the most."
As an anonymous Confined Space commenter wrote last week:
Part of the "Blame the Miner" campaign to take the heat off [Acting Assistant Secretary] Dye and his cronies. So, all you miners, we are telling you that these devices worked, whether or not you think so just because you were there. You can believe the truth or you can go on believing your lying eyes.