MSHA Completes Implementation of Corrective Actions Related to Upper Big Branch Explosion

Published January 22, 2014

​Last week MSHA announced that as of Dec. 31, the agency had addressed the 100 recommendations published in a March 2012 internal report that focused on MSHA's actions leading up to the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in April 2010, which killed 29 miners and injured two others. According to the agency's press release, the internal review was one of the most comprehensive in agency history and led to "sweeping changes in mine safety."

MSHA's corrective actions include the significant revision of mine inspection procedure handbooks; the creation of a centralized system to establish better oversight of MSHA directives and policy guidance; the modification of the Mine Plan Approval database system; and the creation of a national mine rescue organization to provide guidance on mine rescue.

“[The Upper Big Branch tragedy] caused us to re-double our efforts to instill a culture of prevention in mining," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "These corrective actions are part of MSHA's ongoing efforts to improve health and safety conditions in the nation's mines so that miners can go to work, do their jobs and return home to their loved ones safe and healthy at the end of every shift."

View a list of MSHA's corrective actions on the agency's website.