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January 4, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

SAFETY AT THE SAGO MINE....Ellen Smith, the editor of Mine Safety and Health News, probably knows as much about mine safety and more about the obscure Mine Safety and Health Administration than anyone alive. She sent along the following brief summary of the safety record at the Sago Mine:


How bad was the accident and injury rate at the Sago Mine? Terrible. The national average for mining accidents (non-fatal days lost) in 2004 was 5.66 per 200,000 manhours worked. The Sago Mine, which was owned by Anker West Virginia Mining Co. at that time, had an accident rate of 15.90. In 2005, Sago's accident rate increased to 17.04, and 14 miners were injured.

So how does that compare to other underground coal mines in West Virginia?

  • Kingston Mining No. 1 Mine, which is about the same size as Sago, had an accident rate of 1.21 and one miner injured in 2005.

  • Mountaineer Alma A Mine, which is a larger mine, had an accident rate of 3.08.

  • Robinson Run Mine No. 95 and the Harris No. 1 Mine both had accident rates of 3.93.

  • The Blacksville No. 2 Mine last year had an accident rate of 4.41 and the Loveridge No. 22 Mine had an accident rate of 5.62.

All of these mines were below the national average. One has to ask what was happening at the Sago Mine or its sister mine, Stony River, which had an even higher accident rate than Sago.

MSHA was issuing citations, but nothing seemed to change, and at the Sago Mine things got worse in 2005.

Kevin Drum 12:22 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (68)

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Comments

With accident rates like those, what kind of insurance company would insure them?

Posted by: Rad Racer on January 4, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

This is excellent work. Tying directly the neglect of our basic regulatory infrastructure with people's lives.

If one just don't do the work required to make the government's regulations effective - people suffer.

That should be the leading issue in our politics, but unfortunately it isn't.

What should our government do? And what is the best way we should do it? And who is willing to do the hard work to make it happen?

BTW - Good source work going right to the person who knows. Isn't that what good journalism is?

Thanks

Posted by: Samuel Knight on January 4, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose the counter to this will be that the new owners got started in Nvember 2005.

Key question: what is the record of this ownership group at mines they have had for a longer period of time?

Posted by: demondeac on January 4, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Wait, you forgot to tell us how Bush is responsible for this.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 4, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Good luck trying to convince the people in 2006 that passing more regulations on mine safety is a significant issue.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 4, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for this and the previous excellent posts. Here's a link to the MSHA Coal Fatalites Index through 2004.

Posted by: Deckko on January 4, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Yep. Another disaster courtesy of the Republican party. Cozy ties with industry. Feeble enforcement of the regulations. Having to give notice prior to inspections. All syptoms of the same disease.

Posted by: bubba on January 4, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, 12 people are dead. forgive me, but having lived in coal mining country for 11 years, i have to say your comment was idiotic at best.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on January 4, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I think this proves that United Mine Workers are allowed to retire too young. Should be a minimum of 50 years worked or 75 years of age, which ever comes last. That is the problem with this great nation; we have been allowing union workers to retire much too early. (Unless you are in a Crucial Economical Need to the country, such as Web Logging).

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 4, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Is this why the governor of West Virginia was boasting the other the day that: West Virigina is still a place that believes in miracles?

Posted by: koreyel on January 4, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

The Sago mine was non-unionized.

How many of these other higher-safety mines were unionized?

Posted by: Sean Galbraith on January 4, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Wait, you forgot to tell us how Bush is responsible for this."

Maybe that's why there isn't much interest in this thread.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on January 4, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: Good luck trying to convince the people in 2006 that passing more regulations on mine safety is a significant issue.

I doubt that we need more regulations, but we sure as hell need to enforce the ones we have (hint: that's the province of the executive branch).

If you think a slogan like "people shouldn't get killed on the job" would be hard to sell, how about "we don't give a damn if people get killed on the job". For good measure, insist on passing a law that prohibits the survivors from suing the employer. Tell them these nuisance suits are stifling the economy.

Posted by: alex on January 4, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Good luck trying to convince the people in 2006 that passing more regulations on mine safety is a significant issue.

Yeah. Now "Terri's Law", that was important.

Posted by: MillionthMonkey on January 4, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

"Good luck trying to convince the people in 2006 that passing more regulations on mine safety is a significant issue."

I missed the post where anybody argued that we needed to pass more regulations. I also missed the post where someone argued that the issue needed to be framed in the manner in which you state it. Perhaps you could provide some handy links?

Howzabout we discuss whether the present body of safety regulations are being rigorously enforced? Perhaps someone could frame this issue as security related. "Bush wants us to trust him with the management of our homeland security. How secure is the homeland when people die on the job due to his government neglecting its duty to rigorously enforce safety regulations?"

Posted by: Jeff Rients on January 4, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Maybe that's why there isn't much interest in this thread."

Back to the kids table with you, Timmy Troll.

Posted by: booger on January 4, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

The Bush administration appointed the people resposible for the regulation of coal mine safety.
If he hadn't appointed people in the pocket of industry they might have tried a little harder to make sure that miners were safe.

I think that Kevin assumed that sane readers wouldn't have to be told that.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on January 4, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Someone less lazy than me needs to do obvious thing: Follow the money. Look at (1) the company's campaign donations, and (2) Former employees of the company who now work for regulatory commissions.

Posted by: cdj on January 4, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

If he hadn't appointed people in the pocket of industry they might have tried a little harder to make sure that miners were safe

Seems like a pattern with this administration and the modern GOP. Vote Republican for More Cronyism and Nepotism!

Posted by: ChrisS on January 4, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

O yah - and mebbe someone can check and see if there were any large transfers of company stock during the 3 hours where they said the miners were alive.

Posted by: cdj on January 4, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Vote Republican for More Cronyism and Nepotism!"

And More Death and Suffering (at your job, in your community (gulf coast), etc. etc. etc.)

Posted by: bubba on January 4, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Guys, that's the fake tbrosz. It's a good parody, and probably it was only a matter of time until the real tbrosz said it, but sheesh, check the email, willya?

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

"This is excellent work. Tying directly the neglect of our basic regulatory infrastructure with people's lives.

If one just don't do the work required to make the government's regulations effective - people suffer.

That should be the leading issue in our politics, but unfortunately it isn't."

Anybody remember Katrina?

Posted by: brewmn on January 4, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz wrote:

Good luck trying to convince the people in 2006 that passing more regulations on mine safety is a significant issue.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 4, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Well, maybe it is one of the many fake Tbroszes. But this one lacks the manic mimicry usually provided by the real fake Tbrosz, which suggests we are dealing with the good old inane T-Twit himself.

How many layers of stupidity in this post?

First, while there may be a need for increased regulations, what the press reports suggest is that the mine safety officers were doing their job, but there was no enforcement. It is not a question of increased regulations, but of following through on the ones we have and making bad actors - rather than their employees - bear the consequences. Isn't this what conservatives are all about? Don't actions have consequences?

Second layer of stupidity: it is a safe bet that people generally prefer that regulations clearly meant to protect public safety are enforced. You want to fly on airplanes with uninspected engines? Go down the list: pharmaceuticals? elevators? levees? This isn't a difficult case to make, and it has the merit of being true!

Third layer of stupidity: And you want to bet that West Virginians - of all people - appreciate when their coal mines are properly inspected?

Let us recall:

Bush won the 2000 election by 5 electoral votes.

West Virginia (with its 5 electoral votes) went for Bush by 40,000 votes.

Upshur County, home of Sago Mine, went for Bush, 5,165 to 2,770.

You think the machinations of the West Virginia Coal Association, its cozy relationship with Bush, and its assault on mine safety enforcement can't gain traction in West Virginia?

I wouldn't want to be a federal official facing this community to explain why steps weren't taken to ensure the mine was safe before their fathers, brothers, and sons went down to for their final shift last week.

Posted by: Tbrosz watch on January 4, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory: Guys, that's the fake tbrosz.

Oops, the fake tbrosz must be getting better. Usually I can spot that asinine fake without even checking the email.

Posted by: alex on January 4, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

The real Tbrosz is busy collecting links that will show that GWB strongly supports job safety regulations. Then he has to get his talking points for the day. He should show up around 2 PM or so.

Posted by: WhoSays on January 4, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

There's some materials on the blogs etc. about how the usual Republican corner cutting on safety etc. (as opposed to aided the wealthy and correctly religious etc.) had a hand in making this tragedy happen.

Posted by: Neil' on January 4, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

I hesitate to suggest that anyone look at data rather than relying on a single incident, but here goes - average fatality rates / 100,000 employees in the Coal Mining industry were lower for the period 2001-2004 (28.9) than for the period 1993-2000 (30.6). See the link above to the coal fatality index. This may not be an appropriate issue to attempt to politicize.

Regards,
Neil

Posted by: Neil S on January 4, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Neil, do you have statistics covering similar periods of time? Comparing a seven-year period to a three-year period seems a little ... short-sighted.

What's the average fatality rate for, say, 1997-2000 as compared to 2001-2004? That seems like a fairer comparison.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on January 4, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

The Sago mine was non-unionized.

The son of one of the miners made this point on
the Today show this morning.

Posted by: Stephen on January 4, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

How about the Shoelace Efficieny Admninistration reducing the number of injuries due to untied shoelaces? I could bet that 1,000 broken limbs are due to untied shoelaces.

If Kevin has his way, we would spend another 100 million on mine safety and get 5 fewer injuries.

Posted by: Matt on January 4, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

If Kevin has his way, we would spend another 100 million on mine safety and get 5 fewer injuries.

Wow, what is it with the Bush apologists' addicition to straw men?

I daresay if Kevin had his way, we wouldn't appoint the fox to guard the henhouse, enforce the existing regulation, and in all likelihood prevent a few dozen deaths.

In short, do the opposite of what Bush has done. Shame on you for carrying water for this incompetent and corrupt Administration.

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

If Kevin has his way, we would spend another 100 million on mine safety and get 5 fewer injuries.

Or maybe we would have had 12 fewer deaths. You know, those 12 men who died just yesterday? Remember them? Actual human lives, not abstract jokes about shoelaces?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on January 4, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

If Kevin has his way, we would spend another 100 million on mine safety and get 5 fewer injuries. Posted by: Matt on January 4, 2006 at 1:50 PM

Better that a thousand miners die, then let a single Bentley not get bought, right Matt?

That's the "values" and "morality" crowd for you.

Values and morality of Mammon, that is.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on January 4, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, what is it with the Bush apologists' addicition to straw men?

It's the only way they can win an argument.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on January 4, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

I am more than a little irritated at Kevin's attempt to drum up support for the Republicans in the next election.

The Mine Safety Administration has a budget of about $250 million, and there are some 80 mine fatalities per 130,000 coal miners. (This ignores all other mining). The greatest single mine safety technology is electricity and flashlights, installed in mines starting in the early 20th century.

If you subtract out the effect of electricity, as it was introduced into mines in 1915, you find that federal money plays a role in reducing fatalities from about 200 to 80 per year, probably cutting it in half, and that is optimistic.

In other words, using the most optimistic numbers, this comes to about two million dollars per fatality reduced. This number is pessimistic because I ignore other mining operations, but coal mining is the worst.

The point is, Kevin would have us pay a million or so for each minor fatalities. If we applied his logic to every industry, no sane man would ever vote democratic again.

Kevin is plain nuts for using the death of 12 minors as a Bush bashing excercise, for after the rantnrave, sane voters begin to do the numbers and they reject Kevin and the half educated Bush bashers on this board. He does more harm to the liberal cause with this nonsense than Tom Delay ever could.

Posted by: Matt on January 4, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Matt wants us all to know that, yes, he is a moral monster.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 4, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is plain nuts for using the death of 12 minors as a Bush bashing excercise, for after the rantnrave, sane voters begin to do the numbers and they reject Kevin and the half educated Bush bashers on this board. He does more harm to the liberal cause with this nonsense than Tom Delay ever could.

As I said in the other thread, Matt, put the Democrats' belief in adequately funded regulation up against the Republican stance of "we'll let our cronies break the law even if it means your family's death," and the Democrats win in a walk.

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Matt wants us all to know that, yes, he is a moral monster.

Well, apparently that's what having to defend this Administration does...just look at some of our regular Bush apologists.

And just for the record, I don't believe for a second that Matt knows or cares about the "liberal cause."

Cue Matt huffing that despite his obvious familiarity with right-wing talking points, he's really, truly voted Democrat for years, etc. etc...

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

The point is, Kevin would have us pay a million or so for each minor fatalities. If we applied his logic to every industry ...

What you wrote was your logic, not Kevin's.

Posted by: Mornington Crescent on January 4, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

So ok, How are we gonna make THIS Bushs' fault? We can say stuff like Bush doesn't care about miners or ... Oh! POOR miners. Yeah thats it, Bush hates poor miners. Boy this is good stuff. I can't wait to hear it on the news.

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 4, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Let us apply Matt's logic to the other situaton.

We have spent at least $250B during the last four years to save us from terrorism. The number of deaths caused by terrorism per year cannot be more than 400 per year.

You do the calculation. If we are willing to spend a few billions of dollars per life to save ourselves from terorism, I guess the numbers he quoted for mine safety seem to be a bargain.

Posted by: lib on January 4, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Matt wrote:

"The point is, Kevin would have us pay a million or so for each minor fatalities."

Matt, your freudian lingerie is showing: "minor" or "miner"? Nice to know how you feel about these things. Think the families of WV miners will think these are minor fatalities?

Okay, lets descend to the inanity of your own mode of argumentation, and change the terms somewhat.

How many people died in commercial airline accidents in the US in 2005? How much money did the FAA and NTSB spend on airline safety? You think the expenditure is worth it?

The question is not what is the expenditure per death, but what kind of carnage (death and accidents) we avoided as a result of the expenditure.

Will a sane man vote for continued expenditure by the Mine Safety Administration? Or the FAA? You bet.

Posted by: Tbrosz watch on January 4, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Again, we are not talking about spending more money on additional regulations or even additional inspectors. The inspectors we have did their job. The regulations were broken, but there was no enforcement. Rules were broken. Apparently for republicans, personal responsibility only applies to the responsibilities of the OTHER person.

Posted by: allison on January 4, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

So ok, How are we gonna make THIS Bushs' fault? We can say stuff like Bush doesn't care about miners or ... Oh! POOR miners. Yeah thats it, Bush hates poor miners. Boy this is good stuff. I can't wait to hear it on the news.
Oh! Wait! Lets say that he hired cronies to CAUSE the EXPLOSION!!!!! This is great!!! Bush had some of his corrupt cronies hire some people to cause the explosion because he hates poor miners.

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 4, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans hate regulation more than they love the lives of ordinary Americans so they've turned to meaningless citations to give the appearance of doing something about worker safety while destroying it at the same time.

Business takes precedence over life, at least the lives of those that the conservative elite consider expendable for their (conservatives') own comfort and success.

Trust corporations to do the right thing, the GOP says, as if Enron and other corporate malfeasance were mythical stories told by liberals as boogeymen tales.

Few are as untrustworthy as America's corporate leaders.

Only the Bush administration and GOP hierarchy appear to exceed corporate America as a national source of contempt for morality, integrity, honor, and the law.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 4, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Or, Lurker42, we can say that Bush installing industry cronies in the watchdog agencies appears to have resulted in lax enforcement that led to a dozen deaths in a mine known to be a safety hazard.

Which, conveniently, happens to be the case.

What is is with you Bush apologists and straw man arguments?

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Matt - we regularly spend 1 million a life to avoid a statistical death (which is what you are getting in a huff about). in fact, most risk analyses by economists show the statistical value of life in the US at between 2 and 10 million. FDA regulations and the arsenic in our water supply are at way over 1 million per life.

taken to its logical conclusion, as mentioned above, terrorism is one of the worst offenders. perhaps because we assume the casualties can grow exponentially (what with asymmetrical threat, etc).

ok now i'm rambling, but 1 million per statistical life is well within the value of regulation that people want (and that we regularly do)

Posted by: Matt on January 4, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

There's a basic fallacy in Matt and others calculation on the cost per death (ie spend an extra $100 million results in only 10 saved lives, thus $10 million per death).

This calculation only counts lives, and not all the other injuries avoided through proper safety procedures.

This trick is pretty common in conservative arguments on the cost of environmental regulations or food safety, BTW. Just ignore all the injuries that don't kill people. Ignore all the costs of people being sick or having diminished capabilities.

One other comment - we should all be careful with these type of statistics because we don't know how they are gathered. Are the companies self-reporting?

Posted by: Samuel Knight on January 4, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

"Or, Lurker42, we can say that Bush installing industry cronies in the watchdog agencies appears to have resulted in lax enforcement that led to a dozen deaths in a mine known to be a safety hazard.

Which, conveniently, happens to be the case.

What is is with you Bush apologists and straw man arguments?"
Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 2:56 PM


Hey!! You did it!! I knew you would pull it off man. I didn't doubt you for a second.
This is kinda like that "6 degrees of separation to Kevin Bacon" game.
Oh What Fun.

Posted by: Lurker42 on January 4, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

"I hesitate to suggest that anyone look at data rather than relying on a single incident, but here goes - average fatality rates / 100,000 employees in the Coal Mining industry were lower for the period 2001-2004 (28.9) than for the period 1993-2000 (30.6). See the link above to the coal fatality index. This may not be an appropriate issue to attempt to politicize."

Lessee - clinton took over in 1993 after 12 years of republican rule. Lets give him 3 years to straighten it all out. Bush came in after 8 years of increasingly responsible government. Although 9/11 clearly showed that it only takes a half year for a president to really fuck everything up, lets give him the same benefit of the doubt - 3 years.

So lets compare 1997-2000 vs 2003-2006.

Or you can just look at the trend lines - Clinton - steady decrease in accidents.
Bush - slow increase in accidents.

huh.

"The point is, Kevin would have us pay a million or so for each minor fatalities."

OK, so a human life is not worth $1 million. Is that all human life? Or just minor miner human life. For instance, if a company pays $1 million for security for its CEO and tacks the price onto the products it sells, chalking it up to "increased production costs", is that a fair trade?

Or is it just government that should not be allowed to spend $1 million to protect a life? Or is it that companies should be allowed to spend money to protect "major" people, like CEO's, and should not spend money to protect "minors", like minors?

Seriously, we are really interest in your views on the value of human life. Its like guessing what Jeffrey Dahlmer might want for dinner.

Posted by: Mysticdog on January 4, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

How long before the usual right-wing shills try to pin Sago's shoddy record on excessive gummint regulation? I haven't looked through the comments; maybe they already started....

Posted by: sglover on January 4, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

The point is, Kevin would have us pay a million or so for each minor fatalities.

Actually, the company will probably have to pay at least that amount to the family of each dead miner, if not twice that.

But, hey, it makes more sense that the family get $2 million after their loved one's death than it does for the company to spend $1 million to prevent that death, right?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on January 4, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Hey!! You did it!! I knew you would pull it off man. I didn't doubt you for a second.

Given that the tragedy at Sago being agruably linked to Bush's policies was the subject of Kevin's previous post -- and your own rather desperate continued attempts to distract attention there and here -- you should hardly feign surprise.

I must confess, though, that the desperate spinning of the Bush apologists is grimly amusing against the backdrop of this tragedy. It indicates the GOP knows full well that its growing reputation of corruption and incompetence hand-in-hand is likely to be poison at the ballot box.

Posted by: Gregory on January 4, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

matt, i suggest you move to upshur county and work for international coal co. in one of their deep mines. or better yet, attend a umw meeting some time and explain to the members your cost/return views on regulation. ask them how much they think their lives are worth. if you read kevin's post, you'd realize there was nothing in it calling for more regulation. the problem here is enforcement of those regulations. if you actually read the post, you'll see there are some mines that actually do a pretty good job when it comes to safety. others just ignore the regulations. there needs to be some mechanism for punishing scofflaw companies so the regulations have some bite.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on January 4, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

There's a basic fallacy in Matt and others calculation on the cost per death (ie spend an extra $100 million results in only 10 saved lives, thus $10 million per death).

We could also use his logic to say that spending several hundred million dollars would result in a negative loss of life. The problem of spontaneously generating life is solved. All it takes is to spend enough money on mine safety.

We can also say that by completely eliminating spending any money on law enforcement everywhere in the country would result in a not very substantial increase in theft or murder.

Posted by: Mornington Crescent on January 4, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Does anybody have any numbers on the number of accidents in coal mining per man-hours worked. Mining accidents and injuries decreased for most of the 20th century for a couple of reasons. One was better technology (techniques and safety equipment). Another was the increased mechanization of mining -- it takes far fewer people underground now to do the same job. Finally, coal mining in particular was on the wane for a few years, mostly due to environmental regs. With the high energy prices of the last couple of years, however, coal has been making a comeback. I don't live far from coal country -- the mines have been hiring a lot of people as of late.

Posted by: slightlybad on January 4, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

The Mine Safety Administration has a budget of about $250 million, and there are some 80 mine fatalities per 130,000 coal miners. (This ignores all other mining).

If you subtract out the effect of electricity, as it was introduced into mines in 1915, you find that federal money plays a role in reducing fatalities from about 200 to 80 per year, probably cutting it in half, and that is optimistic.

How many coal miners were there in 1915 vs how many now ? What is the average compensation of a
CEO in the coal mining industry ? Is it possible
that large scale accidents were prevented that you don't know about ?

The point is, Kevin would have us pay a million or so for each minor fatalities.

What is the difference between a minor fatality
and a major fatality ?

Posted by: Stephen on January 4, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Stephen - in answer to your question, in Matt's world a minor fatality is what happens when a miner dies in a preventable accident. A major fatality is when a CEO loses his job.

Posted by: Tbrosz watch on January 4, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Must be the effect of "compassionate conservatism" - A few years back, cretins such as Matt or Lurker would have simply called the victims "units". Perhaps the outing of the Ford internal memo from one of their VPs referring to the dead and maimed as "units" have made them more "caring" as well.

Mudwall Jackson has an excellent point - go to Home Depot, the Repug store, and pick up a hard hat and go down to a UMW meeting - feel free to mouth off, you little Repug bean counter - just speak your mind as you do to your Beemer and Rolex crowd - enjoy your stay.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 4, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

OK, here we go, from:

http://www.gullible.info/archive.php?m=2005-02

Each year, more than 20,000 serious injuries occur as the result of untied shoelaces. This is .02 per 100, assuming 100 million people use shoelaces regularly.

From:
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/mining/statistics/tables/inj_ct.html

For all mine operations, the rate is 3.0 per 100 employees.

The mine safety administration spends $250 million. So we would expect the Shoelace Safety Administration to spend $1.7 million.

How much does our government spend on shoe safety? Nothing, so you can see that shoelace safety is not even on the map.

This is outrageous! Liberals should be screaming for at least a shoelace safety subcommittee of the Occupational and Health Safety Administration. Yet, I hear nothing.

Who will be the first? Which brave liberal among you will step forward and demand superior shoelace safety from our government? Kevin? Where are you?


Posted by: Matt on January 4, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Brilliant, Matt. An informed response addressing the merits of folks' criticism of your earlier posts.

Given your attitude and logic, it is indeed difficult to understand how any sane man could ever vote democratic again.

Posted by: Tbrosz watch on January 4, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

I compute on average 2000 hours per year for full time employment (I am not sure if it is very different for miners). That means another way of reading "15.90 per 200,000 manhours" is 15.90 days lost due to accidents for for every 100 miners when working at the Sago mine. Either there are some serious accidents or there are a lot of accidents. I knew mining was a dangerous profession. I did not realize how dangerous until I read this.

Posted by: Sam Jackson on January 4, 2006 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

Mining is not a dangerous profession compared to fishing in the Gulf of Alaska. There will never be a perfectly safe coal mine, so, to some extent, the workers themselves should have some say in perceiving whether it is a good day to go make some money. If the Sago Company has been forcing people to work dangerous areas for fixed wages, that's one thing.

If the crews are getting production bonuses that provide incentives to do dangerous work, then to a certain extent workers get to select themselves and part of their job skill is to know when they can go get it and when they can't.

Ironworkers who build skyscrapers are sorted out by their willingness to take risks pretty quickly. For that matter, so are people in law enforcement (my job.)

When I worked construction it was always clear that there was the OSHA way to do everything, then there was the common sense way. The OSHA way being often 200 to 300% more costly, those workers who really have a profit motive are never going to work like there's an inspector looking over their shoulders all the time when there isn't. The guest workers I have known from machismo cultures would look at safety inspectors as enemies and take pride if figuring out how to get around them. Did they do that because they were raised in an exploitation culture?

Of course, there is a sentiment which says that Big Brother should always be watching everyone, for their own good. I've always wanted to get one of those inspector jobs. Heck, I might even become a Democrat, so I could tell everyone what to do and be paid better than anyone.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 4, 2006 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Firstly, obviously this is a tragedy for the families and friends of the miners who lost their lives.

That said, the lives ended prematurely by coal mining accidents in the United States pale into insignificance compared to the lives ended prematurely by the pollution caused by burning the stuff. Some estimates say that it kills about 20,000 Americans every year. That's about half the number that die in car accidents. Not to mention global warming. This year was the hottest on record here in Australia; 1.09 degrees above the 30-year average.

The best way to reduce coal mining accidents is to mine less coal and use alternative energy sources.

Posted by: Robert Merkel on January 4, 2006 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

song and music

经典歌曲,热门MP3,男女歌星,火热排行

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男女歌手排行,最新流行歌曲下载

good song and music

经典歌曲,热门MP3,HOT

Posted by: 歌曲排行榜 on January 5, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

1983-2004--Number of Mining Fatalities and Injuries; Data Source: MSHA

1992 92
1993 96
1994 81
1995 97
1996 85
1997 91
1998 78
1999 90
2000 85
2001 72
2002 66
2003 56
2004 55

Whew, almost stepped in it again.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/mining/statistics/tables/i1.html

Posted by: Stepinhi on January 6, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

On the issue of who would insure the mine with such an accident rate:

They don't need insurance. They have Workmen's Compensation. This has just been reorganized under Governor Manchin to set up a (sort of) private insurance company to do the job after the state department of workmen's comp went bankrupt after years of having the premiums set too low to cover the expenses as a benefit to dangerous industries like coal, timber and chemicals.

The deficit was also caused by a legal system where coal operators contracted work to companies who left their premiums unpaid and went bankrupt leaving the system holding the bag for the liabilities.

There was a $230 million infusion of state funds and a reorganization to set up the new corporation which starts this year. Premiums for coal and timber were, coincidentally, reduced by 25% in the new regime while premiums for non-hazardous occupations were not reduced at all.

Of course under Workman's Compensation the injured worker is barred from suing the employer for injuries in exchange for having access to this supposedly non-aversarial system of compensation for injuries. No lawsuits, no insurance, although I suppose they have insurance on the equipment.

Posted by: pragmatic_realist on January 7, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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