Sago Mine Case Study

1362 Words 5 Pages
On Monday, January 2, 2006 an explosion occurred at about 6:30 am in a coal mine in Sago, West Virginia. (Madsen, 2009). The Sago Coal Mine explosion resulted in 12 fatalities, but 14 other workers were able to successfully evacuate (West Virginia Office of Miners ' Health, Safety, and Training, 2006). Accident investigations were promptly launched by the owner of the Sago Mine known as International Coal Group, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), and the state of West Virginia (Madsen, 2009). The main purpose of the investigations was to determine causation in order to prevent similar tragedies. The results of the investigations spurred changes in responding to mining accidents and changes to legislation. Consequently, the Mine …show more content…
First, the contributing factors that led to the disaster will be discussed. As revealed by the incident investigations, one major hazard that contributed to the explosion was the presence of methane gas. Methane occurs naturally in mines and often seeps out of the coal seams. This phenomena results in the requirement to ventilate underground coal mines to ensure a safe atmosphere (McMahon, Britt, O 'Daniel, Davis, & Walker, 2007). However not all sections of the mine may be ventilated. Areas that have been abandoned are often sealed to avert the cost of ventilation (McMahon et al., 2007). The MSHA investigation determined that methane gas accumulated in an abandoned a portion of the mine sealed by 40 inch thick Omega blocks (U.S. Mining Safety and Health Administration, 2006). A lightning strike, then served as an ignition source igniting 400,000 cubic feet of methane gas (WVOMHST, 2006). This caused a sudden explosion resulting in damage to the omega seals. Deadly gases and debris were then projected into the area surrounding the working miners (WVOMHST, …show more content…
Each cache should hold two SCSRs for each worker containing a minimum of 60 minutes of breathable air. The cache should also hold escape tools including a hammer, tagline, light sticks, and escape map (WVOMHST, 2006). Caches holding additional SCSRs should be located at regular intervals throughout the mine. Mine operators should train employees by conducting mock emergency drills and incorporate SCSR use, maintenance, donning, and doffing. The mine operator should develop an emergency shelter plan, and an emergency shelter should be available no more than 1,000 feet from the nearest work area. A communication and tracking system should be used, and the mining operator should develop a communication and tracking plan. The state of West Virginia Office of Miners ', Health, Safety, and Training advises that more research is necessary to determine best emergency measures for lightning strikes. Current omega block seals should not be used because they are inadequate to protect against explosive forces above 20 pounds per square inch (psi) (WVOMHST, 2006). It is recommended to upgrade omega block technology to achieve 50 psi protection. Finally, emergency response plans should be established and tested periodically (WVOMHST,

Related Documents