Coal Tattoo

3 W.Va. coal miners killed in the last week

Well, Alpha Natural Resources President Kevin Crutchfield was certainly right about one thing he said the other day:

While I am pleased with the efforts all of our employees are making on accident reduction, the loss of three of our fellow employees in 2012 is a somber reminder that there remains much work to be done, and we must remain vigilant at all times.

As we reported last evening:

A Marion County man has died from injuries received in a Consol Energy mining accident, making him the third West Virginia coal miner killed on the job in the last week.

Glen L. Clutter Jr., 51, of Baxter, died Thursday, Consol said in a statement. Clutter began his mining career in 1981 at Consol’s Blacksville No. 1 Mine and had worked at the company’s Loveridge Mine near Fairview for the last decade, a Consol spokeswoman said.

Clutter received severe head trauma on Tuesday evening when a metal bar he was using to help put a loaded supply car back on the mine’s underground track system kicked out and hit him in the head, according to the state Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training.

CONSOL said in its statement:

Safety remains at the core of everything we do at Consol Energy.  It is our priority to prevent events like this one from ever happening and we continue to strive for a workplace experience of zero accidents.

And as we mentioned in our story:

The last week’s string of deaths comes after a series of missteps by the Tomblin administration as state regulators work to implement the governor’s mine safety legislation passed during the 2012 session.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin did not mention the regulatory setbacks — or the string of accidents — in his State of the State address Wednesday night, but did promise that the state mine safety office would be exempt from budget cuts hitting other agencies.

Gov. Tomblin, of course, has said:

While we strive to ensure the safety of our coal miners, accidents do occur.