Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Corporate murder

At first glance, yesterday's mining disaster in the US seems like an accident. Except its not. Reading on:

Though the cause of the blast was not known, the operation about 50km south of Charleston has a history of violations for not properly ventilating highly combustible methane gas, safety officials said.


In the past year, federal inspectors have fined the company more than US$382,000 for repeated serious violations involving its ventilation plan and equipment at Upper Big Branch, which is run by subsidiary Performance Coal Co.

The violations also cover failing to follow the plan, allowing combustible coal dust to pile up, and having improper firefighting equipment. The mine has had three other fatalities in the past dozen years.

The most recent of these violations dates to just last week. Their repeated nature suggests that the company does nothing about them. And now people are dead as a result. Their deaths are not an accident, they are corporate murder from a business which regards its employee's lives as expendable. The management of that business should be held to account for that.