Government regulators investigating the nation’s worst coal mine disaster in 40 years are having trouble interviewing some Massey Energy employees, though they’ve uncovered enough problems to cite the company for dozens of violations.
West Virginia mine safety chief Ron Wooten said Thursday witnesses often reschedule or miss appointments. But if no shows become a problem, Wooten says the state won’t hesitate to employ its little-used subpoena power.
Massey says it’s not discouraging employees from cooperating. And the company says none of the violations are related to the explosion.
Wooten and Amy Louviere, a spokeswoman for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, downplayed the problem with Massey workers skipping interviews.
Only four have skipped and they either forgot or had to work unexpectedly, Louviere said. One interview has been reset.
Massey said it has no idea what was going on with interviews.
“We are committed to cooperating with the investigation and would not discourage any person from attending an interview,” Jeff Gillenwater said.
Investigators have had more success finding violations. The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration has cited Massey for at least 26 found since the April 5 explosion that killed 29 men.