Critical Incident

Joined Apr 30, 2001
Your old friend Nancy has just spent the past two days doing critical incident debriefings at the hospital and the mine site. We had a partial collapse of a high wall which dropped a rock on a cable truck, crushing the miner - who has survived surgery and we are told the spinal cord was not severed but unknown whether he will walk again.

I haven't slept in nearly 48 hours so perhaps should wait till more coherent, but am really pretty angry and frustrated.

The mine was well aware of the problem with the high wall. All employees we talked with today [about 240] knew that the coal wall was unsafe and had repeatedly complained to management. MSHAW had actually closed that pit 1 1/2 months ago and they weren't supposed to be operating in it.

Manangement is now saying that changes are going to be made...the problem will be taken care of. The problem has existed for over 3 years. But it sure seems like too little, too late.

What is it with corporate America? The allmighty dollar is worth more than a human life? The miners all said that when they complained about unsafe conditions, they were threatened with being fired. Most felt that they couldn't quit because they need to support their families and this is the major source of employment in the area. Wyoming is a right to work state and employees have very few rights.

The employees asked me over and over and over again.....

"What are we supposed to do?"
Joined Dec 8, 1999
There are very few instances where I would voice my support of unions, but apparently this is one. If, by chance, these were union workers, I'd blame the union for not protecting it's members. It sounds like they weren't, though. So, although it's after the fact and serious damage has been done that no amount of money can repair, they should sue the living daylights out of their employer. This kind of irresponsible behavior by a corporate entity cannot go unpunished!! For whatever it's worth, my thoughts, prayers and sympathy are with these people.
Joined Apr 30, 2001
None of the mines in the basin are union. Up until recently, they have kept salary and benefits high enough that they have kept unions out.

There is usually some union talk going around and this incident has certainly got that pot stirring again.

Suing employers around here has never been very successful, but I'm hoping that it happens in this case.


Joined Apr 4, 2000
Why is it corporation only tell the truth after an accident or when their lies catch up with them?
Joined Jul 24, 2001
The world is getting worse ...

We re in the medieval period, we just use Internet...

:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:
Joined May 26, 2001
Nancya, I hope you are coming out of the experience all right. Without being made to feel you are any side's pawn.

I wish you strength.
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Dear Nancy, This is were all the schooling and practical expereaince comes into play. All i wish to say of this is that I prayer for the miners and I send you well wishes for your own well being.
Joined Apr 30, 2001
Thank you all. I was pretty drained yesterday but am recovering my own energy now. I appreciate the concern for myself - but I'm not really the one to worry about.

I also appreciate the kindness the people on this forum have for strangers in trouble. Goes to show the caliber of people we have here.

Joined Jul 24, 2001
I am sure you can deal with this , but from personal experience I know how much in trouble you can get by such situations. It's so easy to get depressed.
I wish you luck and strength to help those people
Joined Apr 19, 2001
Dear Nancy,

I'm sorry for the situation; reading your post reminded me of growing up in Pittsburgh, very close to the coal mines; the struggles of the people in Appalachia just don't ever seem to end.

I don't know if you're in contact with the man who was injured, or his family, but as the mother of a son who suffered a spinal cord injury three years ago, my learning curve of SCI and its consequences has gone through the roof. I would be more than glad to share what I've learned, and to offer whatever help or advice I can. They have a very long row to hoe ahead of them.
Feel free to email me, or to give these folks my email address. I'd be happy to help. [email protected]
Joined Apr 30, 2001
Thank you Marmalady...I will pass the information on. The family is, of course, in the middle of survival issues at this time, but I'm sure they will be wanting to talk to people who have dealt with the same issues soon.

You know how everyone is related in small towns...the young man is the step-nephew of some dear friends of mine. He has two small boys, ages 3 and 5.
Joined Mar 6, 2001
I'm not sure if this applies, it's just what little info. I understand from my construction husband. But I could ask him for details tonight if this sounds like it applies.

My husband is in construction management and construction can be a VERY dangerous field. He has at times worked with a boss that knew about dangerous situations and ORDERed people to do it or be fired. If other people know about the danger (and hear the guy be ordered to do something) I think that supports the guy legally if something happens. BUT of course that's too late, sometimes. My husband has known guys who opted to be fired and walked off the job instead of following bad orders.

But what the guys do to cover themselves is anomously (sorry can't spell it) they call OSHA (my letters could be off but thats how it sounds out) and possibly they call thru the Union halls too to contact OSHA. This is a Union city (chicago) but I really thought OSHA is national to protect all workers?... As I understand OSHA will come out imediately and run an inspection of a site for safety. If the company hasen't followed every single law to the letter they are fined and the job is shut down until they meet saftey standards.

I really feel comforted by their presence. My husband tells me all kinds of wild unsafe stories but OSHA has really made a big impact in our area. Since there have been deaths and law suits I understand all the company owners he deals with, now really take saftey far more seriously then they did just years ago. His small company now has a full time saftey inpector and they run safety meetings regularly.
Joined Aug 4, 2000
That unfortunate incident is justification for the existence of OSHA and labor unions: two organizations that attempt to enforce safe working conditions.
Joined Oct 13, 2001
Nancy , I grieve with you and the people who who have been touched by this situation . Money versus human life . All you can do is support the people who have been wronged by exposing the truth . Expose and support the wronged parties . As the Buddah said to his disciples when asked what shall we do before he left them , well his response was to say " DO THE BEST THAT YOU CAN " Keep strong and may the force be with you ....
Joined Apr 30, 2001
Thank you Chefboy...

Do you read the Buddah? This is how I try to live.

Things that are empty make a noise,
the full is always quiet.
The fool is like a half-filled pot,
the wise man is like a deep still pool.

Sutta Nipata 721

I have some interesting communities to point you toward if you are interested. Let me know.
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