Massey Energy has announced new safety initiatives designed to help prevent underground mine fires and to improve mine fire response efforts. Massey Energy is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, USA with operations in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia.
“We believe these new initiatives will dramatically improve mine safety,” said Massey Energy Chairman and CEO Don Blankenship.
The new initiatives exceed the current requirements of federal law and include: enhanced fire fighting measures; enhanced automatic fire suppression measures; the use of new technologies in mine rescue; and new procedures for preparing for mine evacuations.
Massey Energy is involved in safety research and development and has introduced and shared numerous advancements that are widely used by the mining industry today. Most recently, it spearheaded the development of a ‘proximity detection system’ that detects the location of miners and automatically shuts down mining machinery if miners get too close. The system has been approved for use by the Mine Safety and Health Administration and was publicly demonstrated in August 2006.
Following the January 2006 mine explosion at Sago and the January 2006 mine fire at the Aracoma Coal mine, Massey Energy decided to turn its research and development efforts toward the topics of fire prevention and mine evacuation and rescue.
“Until this year, Massey Energy had not had a serious mine fire or mine explosion during my 24 years with the company,” said Blankenship. “However, after investigating the incident at Aracoma, we felt that the procedures used in the industry to prevent and respond to mine fires needed to be re-evaluated both pragmatically and in light of the latest available technology.”
As it has done in the past, Massey Energy plans to share its research and development with the industry. “We have always sought to improve the safety of all miners, not just those at Massey Energy,” said Blankenship.