MSHA expands investigation at Massey mine

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The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration has formed a supplemental investigation group to determine the cause of the explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine last month.

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis called for the group to provide a confidential venue for the public, family members of the 29 miners who died in the explosion and miners to speak anonymously to MSHA investigators.

“We need to use every available tool to establish the cause of this tragedy that took 29 coal miners’ lives,” Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, said in a statement. “The work of this special team will be part of MSHA’s investigative process, and it will give family members and others the opportunity to share information they might otherwise not feel comfortable passing along.”

The group will also be responsible for monitoring an anonymous tip line. The phone number is (877) 827-3966.

MSHA is also forming an internal review team to evaluate its own actions before the explosion at the West Virginia mine.

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