EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSFORMER MINER REACTS TO TOMBLIN'S ORDER
from Eyewitness News Online
Former Miner Who Lost Three Family Members In UBB Disaster Reacts To Tomblin's Safety Stand-down
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Matt Durrett
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Feb. 20, 2013 10:12 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 20, 2013 10:31 PM EST
Dawes , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Tomblin's mine safety stand-down order raises the question if an hour safety talk is enough to make life saving changes. Or will it not make a difference at all?
Few people know what it's like to lose loved one's in the mining industry more than Tommy Davis. He supports the governor's order, but thinks mining safety not only comes from the top, but also the miner's themselves.
"Working in the mines with them, and then going to the mines without them...it's really hard to explain," he says. Davis tries to explain why he walked away from being a coal miner last summer. He says the deaths of his son, Corey, brother Charles Davis, and nephew Joshua Napper at the Upper Big Branch Mine in 2010, still haunt him. He was also a miner there. He says he knows what the four families of the miners killed in the last two weeks are going through.
"I know what the families are going through, with the loss, and also knowing that with today's knowledge and technology and manpower that they have, that nothing should really ever happen inside that mines. As long as it's just natural causes going on, anything that can be prevented should be prevented," he says.
MSHA officials are calling the alarming numbers of fatalities tragic and unacceptable. State inspectors planned to visit about 500 mines across the state on Wednesday.
"We need to practice safety meetings as much as necessary. This has got to stop. These accidents can stop," explains UMWA member Mike Caputo.
Davis recalls the safety talks when he was a miner, and says they were beneficial. He hopes miners take what they're being taught with them when they go underground.
"The men has to make the difference because they're the ones doing the work. Everyone outside looks at it on paper, and reads it to you and talks about it...it's brought up in your classes and everything is done on it, but what the men carry over from that class underground with them everyday is what they need to practice. The men can make the difference," says Davis.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin says he would support new mine safety rules if the accident probes of a six deaths since December show they would make a difference.
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