Mine Safety Award Rescinded

Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum
accepted Westray management's statistics without checking




Mine Safety Award Rescinded

Company Officials Fudged Accident Statistics

This article appeared in
The Gazette
Montreal, Tuesday, May 5, 1998


Westray Coal Inc. has been stripped of a prestigious mine-safety award bestowed [eleven days] before its Nova Scotia mine exploded, killing 26 men.

The Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum rescinded the John T. Ryan Trophy last month, based on an inquiry's finding that company officials fudged accident statistics.

It is the first time the 57-year-old award, given annually to the Canadian coal mine with the fewest accidents, has been rescinded. The Westray inquiry reported in December that mine management was derelict in its duty to train miners and run a safe mine.

The Ryan award, administered by the Montreal-based institute, is based on the ratio of hours worked to the number of reportable injuries.

Westray reported 15 injuries in 1991, but inquiry evidence showed at least three other injuries were not disclosed.

The company won the award on April 9, 1992, one month before the massive explosion of gas and dust.

Westray manager Gerald Phillips and underground manager Roger Parry are to stand trial next year on charges of manslaughter and criminal negligence causing the miners' deaths.




Mine Safety Award Rescinded

John T. Ryan Trophy rescinded by the
Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum


This article appeared on the Canadian Press wire service
Monday, May 4, 1998


HALIFAX: — Westray Coal Inc. has been stripped of a prestigious mine-safety award bestowed [eleven days] before its Nova Scotia mine exploded, killing 26 men.

The Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum rescinded the John T. Ryan Trophy last month, based on the Westray inquiry's finding that company officials fudged accident statistics.

But pressure from the United Steelworkers of America, Canada's largest mining union which represents surviving Westray miners, was also a factor.

"It was clearly a result of all our locals, often with the support of their employers, sending letters demanding that this be done," said Andy King, the union's national health and safety co-ordinator.

It is the first time the 57-year-old award, given annually to the Canadian coal mine with the fewest accidents, has been rescinded.

The Westray inquiry reported in December that mine management was derelict in its duty to train miners and run a safe mine.

The Ryan award was "sadly ironic in light of all the other evidence of the unsafe, unhealthy and oppressive environment in which the Westray miners worked."

The award, administered by the Montreal-based institute, is based on the ratio of hours worked to the number of reportable injuries.

Westray reported 15 injuries in 1991, but inquiry evidence showed at least three other injuries were not disclosed.

"When this information is taken into account, Westray Coal would not have been eligible," Peter McBride, secretary of the award committee, said in a news release.

The institute reserves the right to check accident figures submitted by entrants against workers compensation records.

But King believes this is the first time an award-winner's record has been verified.

King has called for spot audits or on-site inspections to prevent inaccuracies.

Westray won the award on April 9, 1992, exactly one month before a massive explosion of gas and dust destroyed the mine.

Inquiry evidence suggested the award lulled government inspectors into a false sense of security. It was also used to counter at least one miner's complaints of unsafe conditions.

Westray manager Gerald Phillips and underground manager Roger Parry are to stand trial next year on charges of manslaughter and causing the miners' deaths through criminal negligence.




Go To:   Westray Scrapbook Fifty clippings about the Westray coal mine disaster
    /westrayclippings/clipping00.html
Go to:   Main Westray Coal Mine Disaster page
    http://alts.net/ns1625/wraymenu.html
Go to:   Westray Public Inquiry online transcript of testimony
    http://alts.net/ns1625/950013index.html
Go to:   Home Page
    /index.html




Counter started 10 May 2002


www.newscotland1398.net/westrayclippings/clipping54.html
  Hits per calendar month
       2005 Dec     8
       2005 Nov    40
       2005 Oct    41
       2005 Sep    16
       2005 Aug     9
       2005 Jul    20
       2005 Jun    11
       2005 May    14
       2005 Apr    27
       2005 Mar    24
       2005 Feb    14
       2005 Jan    17

       2004 Dec    10
       2004 Nov    33
       2004 Oct    25
       2004 Sep    16
       2004 Aug    27
       2004 Jul    19
       2004 Jun    24
       2004 May    23
       2004 Apr    36
       2004 Mar    33
       2004 Feb    21
       2004 Jan    16

       2003 Dec    14
       2003 Nov    22
       2003 Oct    13
       2003 Sep     7
       2003 Aug    14
       2003 Jul    12
       2003 Jun    13
       2003 May    14



First uploaded to the WWW:   2000 April 11
1