The more you read, the more awful the Upper Big Branch story becomes…
Well before this month’s fatal explosion at Upper Big Branch, the country’s worst mine disaster in 40 years, the lack of proper ventilation had been a continuing concern among its miners. The fear of methane building while oxygen dropped preyed on their minds.
“I have had guys come to me and cry,” said the veteran foreman. “Grown men cried — because they are scared.”
But workers in the mine said they did not dare question the company’s safety practices, even when asked to perform a dubious task.
“It was all about production,” said Andrew Tyler, 22, an electrician who two years ago worked as a subcontractor on the wiring for the coal conveyer belt and other equipment at Upper Big Branch. “If you worked for them, you didn’t ask questions about whether some step like running a cable around the breaker was a smart idea. You just did it.”
President Obama’s Speech at the memorial for the 29 dead miners.