Massey Withholds Victim Identities From MSHA: Spokeswoman

A continuing saga that looks odder and odder.

I’ve been for two days in search of an official roster of the miners who lost their lives in Upper Big Branch. In strange contrast to the usual routine nature of this kind of information, nothing officially forthcoming from MSHA, the state or the company so far (see earlier posts).

MSHA spokewoman Amy Louviere informed me earlier today:

We don’t yet have the names of the victims.

I wrote back:

Why doesn’t MSHA have the names of the victims, may I ask? Didn’t MSHA ask the company for this info?

Her reply:

Company hasn’t yet provided.

To reiterate a few things I’ve said:

I worked at MSHA for more than 25 years — including as information officer in mine accidents and investigations — and have covered mine safety stories for almost 6 years since then. I have never heard of the names of mine accident victims being kept secret once their families were properly notified.

To the best of my knowledge, it has been standard practice for mine agencies to obtain the victim or victims’ names from the mine operator in any fatal mine accident or prolonged entrapment. What in the world is going on?

Why are the names of deceased employees being — apparently — treated like the private property of their employer?

Yeah — I can’t believe it either.

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