Posted by: Jeff | April 6, 2010

Mining Safety

The news that 25 people have died in a horrific mining accident in West Virginia is startling both for its human impact and the cold fact that in 2010 Americans still work in conditions where this can happen.  I don’t know a lot about the mining industry, but it is shocking to me to read about this tragedy.  The families of the fallen miners have to feel devastated.  I didn’t know them, so I don’t feel devastation so much as outrage that a company can be the fifth largest mining corporation in the US and have a shoddy safety record.  In an industry that is intrinsically dangerous, I would think that safety would be a mandatory rather than optional precondition for employment.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mining-related injuries are apparently not significantly different than any other industrial field.  Perhaps this tragedy speaks more about blue collar industry in general than it does about mining.  But it’s amazing to me that in a country that prides itself on safety and worker protections, tragedies like these can occur.

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