The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Page Missing From Safety Log at Massey’s Doomed Upper Big Branch Mine

Last updated: July 31, 2020 | May 14, 2010 | Mariella Blankenship

A page from the fire boss book — a log of safety records — was removed at the Upper Big Branch Mine that killed 29 miners in Montcoal, W.Va., last month, according to a new court document surrounding a lawsuit filed by two of the victims’ families. The filing reveals that federal mine-safety officials reluctantly told family members of the missing page earlier this month.

After much prodding by miners’ families, MSHA admitted that the investigative team determined that one page of a fire boss book has been removed. (Exhibit A, MSHA Family Meeting, Liberty High School, May 5, 2010.) This disturbing example of mutilation of documentary evidence compels the conclusion that in order to assure evidence is fully produced, and produced unaltered, MSHA must issue subpeonas.

The Charleston Gazette’s Ken Ward Jr. notes that the document “does not indicate what date the page covered, or provide any additional details (though I’m told it was from sometime in October 2009).”

If he’s right about the date, then the episode likely has no direct correlation to the deadly blast. But it does raise some more questions about the corporate culture of Massey Energy.

Mariella Blankenship | Mariella is an SEO writer who helps companies improve their Google search rankings. Her work has appeared in a variety of e-zine publications. She writes articles for site-reference on a daily basis about SEO techniques. Her articles strive to strike a balance between being insightful and meeting SEO requirements–but never at the cost of being enjoyable to read.


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