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THE MANCHIN REPORT: The Lessons of Sago: More Must be Done to Protect Workers

Posted by kinchendavid on July 21, 2006

By Joe Manchin
Governor of West Virginia 
 
Charleston, WV (HNN) --   In the days following the Sago tragedy, Davitt McAteer, a native West Virginian and noted mine safety expert, volunteered to come to the forefront and help our state with our overall
investigation and the process of improving safety in our mining industry. 
 
During a July 19, 2006 meeting at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, I joined the
families of the 12 Sago Mine victims and the lone survivor of this horrible
tragedy, Randal McCloy, members of the State Legislative Committee established
to conduct an inquiry into the Sago mine disaster, and Mr. McAteer for the
formal presentation of his independent report on the Sago Mine explosion and
subsequent investigation. 
 
The release of this preliminary independent report on the Sago tragedy is part
of our efforts to fulfill a promise that I made to the families in the early
morning hours of Jan. 4, that we would leave no stone unturned in our efforts to
make West Virginia’s mines safer; ensuring that their loved ones did not die
in vain. This report shares a lot of information with the families, and makes
important recommendations that will improve the safety of every mine and every
miner. We also promised that an open hearing process would be part of this
investigation -- and as you know, those hearings were held at West Virginia
Wesleyan College in May. 
 
I know that there are still a lot of questions about Sago that need to be
answered, and we are still looking for those answers. In the six months that we
have been working together, we have shed more light on the mining industry as a
whole so that the entire world now has a different view of the importance of
this industry to our nation. I can assure you that the State of West Virginia
will move forward, and move forward swiftly to protect miners and workers in
every workplace in our state. That’s my goal, my promise, and my commitment. 
 
I want to thank Davitt and his team for their dedicated efforts during the past
six months in putting this comprehensive report together. I also thank the
members of the West Virginia Legislature for their support throughout the
investigation, and their efforts that have helped make West Virginia a national
safety leader. 
 
This report gives us a guideline from which we can enhance the safety of our
mining industry. We will continue to evaluate the recommendations made in this
report, as well as the recommendations prepared by the Legislative Work Group
and Mine Safety Task Force, which include many members from our mining
communities who uniquely understand the mining industry.   The West Virginia
Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training will also continue to work with
their federal counterparts at MHSA to conclude their official investigation and
report as well.
 
The premise that we work with in West Virginia is this: we can tell you the cost
of a piece of mining equipment or a ton of coal, but we cannot tell you the cost
of a human miner - because he or she is priceless. It is critical that we move
forward, working together, with this premise in mind.

 

 

 

 

 

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