Earlier this week, at least 25 workers died in an accident at a coal mine owned by Massey Energy, the country’s fourth largest coal company and the single largest coal producer in Central Appalachia. While the company’s website boasts that it has a safety record above the industry average, the Washington Post reports that the company has a history of safety violations, including roughly 50 citations last month alone.
The United States Mine Safety and Health Administration reportedly fined the company for a laundry list of safety hazards, including failure to maintain proper escape ways, the accumulation of combustible materials, and poor ventilation of dust and methane. MSHA records show that a miner died in an electrical accident in 2003 and another died in a 2001 roof fall.
Federal records show that from 2005 through Monday, the company had amassed 1,342 safety violations with a total of $1.89 million in proposed fines. Companies are permitted to contest such violations. According to federal officials, the company has contested about a third of the violations with over a million dollars in associated penalties.