On April 5, 2010, 29 miners were killed and two were seriously injured in a massive explosion at the Upper Big Branch (UBB) Mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia. It was the worst American coal mining disaster in 40 years and a devastating loss for the miners’ families, friends and communities at large.
Out of that preventable tragedy, many safety best practices have been reemphasized and MSHA has become ever vigilant in enforcing the regulations designed to keep miners safe. For example, after UBB, MSHA began emphasizing impact inspections as a key tool for mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to their poor compliance history or particular compliance concerns. Since April 2010, MSHA has conducted 1,113 impact inspections and issued 15,979 citations, 1,309 orders and 58 safeguards.
Here at MSHA, we honor the memory of the 29 fallen UBB miners by staying vigilant in our mission to ensure that every miner makes it home safe and healthy at the end of each and every shift.