Sago report closed

THE West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training has completed its report of the Sago explosion of January 2, 2006 and has passed it on to the Board of Coal Mine Safety and Health, an office spokesperson confirmed to International Longwall News.
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Donna Schmidt

Office spokeswoman Caryn Gresham said the office presented the report last Wednesday to the board and that it saw the same PowerPoint presentation that was shown to the families of the victims on December 20.

“We anticipate putting the presentation, report and appendices online within the next few days [for the public],” she said Monday.

While the WVOMHST’s investigation is closed Gresham said research into the cause will continue.

“Director Wooten and the investigating team have said there will still be some ongoing activities with regard to issues such as lightning [and] alternative seals,” she said and added that as more information is realised, new reports will be issued.

To elaborate, Gresham continued: “For instance, the report explains that, after considering a number of potential causes for the explosion, the agency believes that lightning caused the explosion and is still working with a lightning expert to determine more definitively the path which the lightning took. An additional report can also be expected once the testing of the alternative seals has been completed.”

Now that the Board of Coal Mine Safety and Health has the office’s report, Gresham said board administrator Jim Bennett and his team – which includes three labour and three management representatives – will look over the recommendations and formulate its own recommendations for regulations and laws that it believes Wooten’s office should take.

“The board meets on a monthly basis, but I cannot say when the recommendations will be taken up and discussed for action,” she said of the timeline for the board’s response.

She also confirmed that while there may be additional reports, there will be “no changes unless they are corrections for errors”

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