Where to begin on this one?
Background – On Monday there was an explosion in a mine in West Virginia and thirteen miners were trapped. Late Tuesday night it was reported that twelve miners were found alive and one was dead. But by about 3 a.m. Wednesday, the numbers were reversed – twelve were dead and one was alive in critical condition. Unfortunately the families and the media both had the wrong information for hours. The worst part was that newspapers all over the country had headlines Wednesday morning proclaiming the miracle of finding the miners alive, hours after we all knew that a terrible mistake had been made. The papers had gone to press around midnight and it was too late to recall them.
First of all, I guess I’m very naïve. I didn’t know we still had people working in mines in this country. I guess I thought robots did the dangerous work now or humans controlled drills from afar. Why is it still necessary for people to work in mines? Are these people paid enough for the risks they are taking?
Second, this mining company where the accident took place was cited for major safety violations as late as three weeks ago! Why was the mine still operational?
Lastly, 45 minutes after it was mistakenly reported that the miners were found alive, the company knew that it had made a mistake. Why did it take three hours before they finally bothered to tell the men’s families the truth?
In the coming weeks I’m sure the mining company will be sued. And of course the mining company will try to say that the men who died caused the accident.
We’re off to a great start in 2006 as far as corporate responsibility goes, I see.