Federal investigators say Massey Energy managers pressured coal miners to file fake reports to mislead safety inspectors before West Virginia mine explosion that killed 29 men last year

Mathew Kearney

Mathew Kearney

Jun 29, 2011 – Associated Press

BEAVER, West Virginia , June 29, 2011 () – Federal investigators say managers pressured coal miners to file fake reports to mislead safety inspectors before a West Virginia mine explosion that killed 29 men last year.

Kevin Stricklin of the Mine Safety and Health Administration says Massey Energy managers had to countersign books at the Upper Big Branch mine and knew that hazards - from high levels of explosive gas to low air flow - went unreported.

Stricklin says his agency's investigation found duplicate books on daily mine operations and that on several occasions in the months before the blast, the books didn't match.

One set told inspectors there were no serious problems. But internal reports revealed many hazards.

Stricklin says operators can keep two sets of books. But the official book that inspectors see must identify hazards.

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