This report from 60 Minutes is infuriating, saddening and worth watching. The disaster in the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia, which claimed 29 lives, was entirely preventable. Forcing miners to work in conditions where the air is so thick with coal dust that they can’t see their own hands in front of their faces is one insult, but the reports of a culture built on falsifying safety records in the interest of profits adds insult to injury. The miners, who remain un-unionized, only have federal mine inspectors to turn to, but an environment of bullying and fear of retaliation prevented reports of the rampant safety violations in place at Massey Energy’s mines. The corporate culture of disrespect, greed and a blatant disregard for employee wellbeing is completely attributable to Massey Energy’s CEO, Don Blackenship, who can only be sentenced to one year in jail for his deadly and willful negligence. One victim’s family member called that a “perversion of justice,” and I think, if anything, that’s an understatement. Watch and read at CBS News.
Photo Credit: Don Blackenship from Getty Images