Posts Tagged ‘Mine Safety and Health Administration’

Big shocker: Unions improve mine safety

We’re not making it up, people: mineworkers who belong to unions have more freedom to raise safety concerns without fearing retaliation.  That’s according to workers who testified at this week’s congressional hearing on the Upper Big Branch disaster.  As one worker put it, “As a union person we have the right to refuse to do work we think is unsafe,” whereas at a non-union mine like Upper Big Branch, “if you refuse, they tell you to get your bucket and go home.”  And if workers quit because of safety concerns?  They’d be barred from working within a 90-mile radius of a Massey mine.

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Mourn the dead; fight for the living

Cross-posted from

Today is Workers Memorial Day, on which we remember the thousands of men, women, and children who are injured or killed on the job. The April 5, 2010 disaster at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, in which 29 miners lost their lives, makes this year’s observance especially poignant.

But while that event shocked and galvanized the nation, it was hardly unique. Just days before, an explosion at the Tesoro Refinery in Anacortes killed six workers in Washington. In February, three workers were lost in a gas explosion at the Kleen Energy Plant in Middleton, Connecticut. Every day in the United States, an average of 14 workers die as a result of workplace injuries.

There’s a word we can use to describe the majority of these horrible incidents: Preventable.

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