Front Porch Blog

Methane Monitors Were Disabled at Upper Big Branch

Make sure you don’t miss today’s NPR article about methane monitors being disabled at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine.

From the article:

An NPR News investigation has documented an incident in February 2010 in which an Upper Big Branch electrician was ordered to circumvent the automatic shutoff mechanism on a methane detector installed on a continuous mining machine. The machine then continued to cut rock without a working methane monitor, a dangerous and possibly illegal act.

The incident occurred two months before the explosion that killed 29 mine workers. Running mining machines without methane monitors risks similar explosions.

Massey contends:

The supervisor did not order an electrician to bridge a methane monitor on a continuous miner “to keep the mining machine from shutting off while operating.” The methane monitor was bypassed in order to move the miner from the area that did not have roof support to a safer area for repair.

Click here to read the NPR piece

Jed worked with Appalachian Voices as a Communications Specialist and the primary Front Porch blogger during spring/summer 2010.


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