Essay on Pad500 - Assignment 1 - Centralia No. 5
Centralia No. 5 Mine Explosion
On March 25, 1947, a blast in Centralia Coal Mine killed 111 workers. Centralia Coal Mine No. 5 had been operational since 1907 and had never suffered a major disaster. Prior to this event only four shotfirers were killed in 1921 (Fleege). Because of the safety record of the mine, it was considered relatively safe and a disaster seemed remote. The United States had just ended a war and the economy was picking up and production needs were relatively high. Mine operators were being pushed by the federal government to produce as much coal as possible to meet the demands of the robust economy. Because of the demand, safety factors in the mines were not a top priority, …show more content…
Scanlan was very interested in the well-being and safety of the miners at Centralia No. 5. He worked diligently to identify all the violations at the mine which, if corrected, could assure the miners safety in their workplace. He used the system to report these violations and expected the system to comply by having the mine operators correct them. His reports were filed completely, accurately and in a timely manner. However, the bureaucratic make-up was flawed; therefore, no one governed whether the violations were handled in a timely manner. The federal government had limited power in controlling the mine operators, and Illinois State and the political party were so enmeshed in satisfying the needs of the mine operators that the needs of the workers were denied. Scanlan tried to address his responsibility to the public, but he failed short of this obligation. He wasn’t strong enough to fight the political system, bureaucratic government, and the greed of the mine operators.
Two Possible Paths of Action
Scanlan worked through the system of filing the reports; however, he failed short of defending these reports so that possible actions toward correcting violations could be done. Scanlan could have done one or a combination of the following: 1. Scanlan could have stood firm with his conviction that the mine was unsafe and in imminent danger of an explosion. He could have closed