U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin alleged that Gary May plotted “with others known and unknown” to put coal production ahead of workers protection and then cover up serious safety violations on numerous occasions during the two years prior to the April 5, 2010, explosion that killed 29 miners.

“Today’s charge is a significant step in the investigation of events at the Upper Big Branch mine,” Goodwin said in a prepared statement. “Our investigation of those events remains ongoing.”

May, 43, of Bloomingrose, is accused of taking part in a scheme to provide advance warning of government inspections and then conceal violations before federal agents could make it into working sections of the sprawling Raleigh County mine.

Also, May is alleged to have ordered an unnamed person to falsify mine examination records by omitting a hazardous condition required to be reported and then repaired.

Prosecutors further allege that May, after learning that federal Mine Safety and Health Administration inspectors were about to sample the level of coal dust in the mine, “surreptitiously redirected” additional fresh air to the area to conceal actual working conditions in the mine.

Goodwin and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Ruby also allege that May “caused and ordered” the disabling of a methane monitor on a continuous mining machine at Upper Big Branch less than two months before the deadly blast.

“Mine safety and health laws were routinely violated at UBB, in part because of a belief that following those laws would decrease coal production,” prosecutors said in their court filing.

“If these routine mine safety and health violations were detected by MSHA, the resulting citations and orders could result in coal production being stopped until the violations were corrected, in addition to monetary penalties,” prosecutors said. “Furthermore, the issuance of citations and orders by MSHA, particularly certain kinds of serious citations and orders, moved the mine closer to being classified as a mine with a pattern or potential pattern of violations. That classification would have resulted in increased scrutiny of the mine by MSHA and in MSHA’s issuance of additional serious citations and orders.”


Robert Christopher Kennedy, 60 years of age, has been sentenced in federal court to three years’ probation and six months’ home detention with electronic monitoring on his conviction of willful violation of an OSHA regulation causing the death of an employee, according to announcement by federal authorities.

According to the information provided to the court, Kennedy was the superintendent on a construction site building a motel near the Meadowlands exit on Interstate 79 in Washington County. On Sat., Aug. 15, 2009, a roofer fell of the 40-foot roof to his death. As the job superintendent, Kennedy was considered an employer within the meaning of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and was responsible for enforcing the safety regulations of the Act. Kennedy intentionally disregarded the OSHA safety regulations that required employees to be protected with anchored safety lines attached to harnesses.

Authorities said that as a result the roofer, known to the U.S. Attorney’s Office as CB, died from the injuries he suffered during the fall. Christopher Franc, d/b/a C.A. Franc, was under contract with Kennedy’s employer, Hospitality Builders, Inc. to install the roof. Franc was on the roof and equally responsible for ensuring that the employees used the proper safety equipment. As a result of his failure to do so, Franc was previously prosecuted and plead guilty for the same offense, willful violation of an OSHA regulation that caused the death of an employee.

A report by authorities states that immediately after the fall that Saturday morning, Kennedy had a conversation with Christopher Franc that Franc understood to mean that before OSHA arrived to investigate, Franc needed to put fall protection in place so it would look like it was in place before the fall. When the OSHA investigator arrived early Monday morning on the job site to interview Kennedy about the death, Kennedy mislead him to believe that fall protection was properly secured to the roof before the accident occurred by using pictures of the roof taken after the fall protection was secured.

“They were killed because of one man’s greed,” Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eli Cherkasky said in his opening statement in James Lomma’s trial, the only criminal trial stemming from the May 2008 collapse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “They were killed because one man valued his own profit over the safety of others.”

But Lomma’s lawyers said investigators and prosecutors were so focused on the broken weld that they misunderstood it: It was a consequence of the collapse, not the cause, the defense said.

“The government saw what they wanted to see and ignored everything else,” defense lawyer James Kim said in his opening statement. “… They missed the actual cause of the action because they had blinders on.”

Prosecutors say Lomma pinched pennies on a crucial repair job that failed and caused the collapse, but the defense says Lomma acted responsibly in getting the repair done. It says expert witnesses have concluded the crane fell apart because it was pulled too high — not because the repaired part failed.

“What our experts say is that the weld was not the cause of this collapse,” defense lawyer Paul Shechtman told a judge during legal arguments before the openings. Lomma and his companies, New York Crane & Equipment Corp. and J. F. Lomma Inc., have chosen to have a judge decide the verdict, instead of a jury.

A managing director of a gas company in St Helens has been prosecuted following an explosion that resulted in both himself and an employee sustaining injuries.

John Webster of North West Gases Ltd was taken to court by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after he and another worker, who wishes to remain unnamed, received burns to their faces, hands and legs in a gas explosion that lifted the roof off the building.

The men were trying to remove a valve on a liquefied petroleum gas cylinder on April 10th 2008.

Following a HSE investigation it was found that Mr Webster had failed to ensure the cylinder was empty and there was no ignition source before work began.

Gas subsequently escaped from the cylinder and ignited, causing the fire and explosion.

Mr Webster was found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £22,500 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £2,500.

In a case followed around the world, two former executives of a Swiss building-products conglomerate were convicted in Italy Monday of causing the asbestos-related deaths of more than 3,000 people.

Each defendant — Swiss billionaire Stephan Schmidheiny, former owner of the Eternit conglomerate, and Belgian baron Louis de Cartier de Marchienne, a major shareholder in the firm — was sentenced to 16 years in prison on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

A grand jury convened in Coos County, N.H., has indicted Craig Sanborn, owner of gunpowder manufacturer Black Mag LLC, for manslaughter and negligent homicide as a result of a deadly 2010 explosion that took the lives of two workers at the company’s Colebrook, N.H., worksite. The workers, Jesse Kennett and Donald Kendall, who had been on the job for only a month, were being required to hand feed explosive powder into operating equipment because the employer failed to implement essential protective controls. The multiple explosions that occurred when the powder detonated killed both men and blew out the walls and roof of the worksite. Four months earlier another worker had suffered serious burns from a flash fire at the facility.

OSHA issued 54 citations to Black Mag with penalties totaling $1,232,500 following an investigation that found the employer had shown willful indifference to protecting the safety and lives of his workers by failing to provide training, locate operators at safe locations while equipment was operating and separate workstations by distance or barriers. The employer also failed to provide fire resistant clothing, face shields and gloves; to safely store gun powder; and to identify explosion hazards in the company’s operating procedures

Two asbestos industrialists face a possible 20 years in prison if convicted on charges they failed to protect workers of their company.

Nicola Pondrano, an ex-Eternit worker, said: “We call it dust in Casale… and we say: ‘I’ve got the dust in my lungs.’”

Raffaele Guariniello, a Turin public prosecutor, said: “Crimes… travel at the speed of light. The justice system… still moves carefully.”

Romana Blasotti Pavesi, President of Asbestos Victims’ Families in Casale, said: “I try very hard not to think about it. When my daughter died, I found I couldn’t cry any more.”

One of the biggest environmental cases ever to come to trial in Europe began around two years ago in the northern Italian city of Turin.

An asbestos cement multinational called Eternit was in the dock – or rather, its last two owners were. Eternit has factories in Italy, Switzerland, France and South America.

Swiss billionaire Stephan Schmidheiny and Belgian industry baron Louis de Cartier de Marchienne were accused of violating safety rules, ignoring workers’ health. The two risked 20 years in prison if convicted.

The day of judgement: February 13, 2012. If found guilty in Italy, prosecution could go ahead in other countries.

A McDowell County man will spend six months in prison on federal charges.

Raymond C. Dawson, 57, of Raysal, McDowell County, West Virginia, was sentenced today to six months in prison and three years of supervised release by United States District Judge Irene C. Berger in connection with a federal investigation at the Brooks Run Mining Company, LLC – Cucumber Mine located in McDowell County. Dawson pleaded guilty in May to a single count information, charging him with making a false statement to special investigators with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

Dawson had been certified by MSHA to provide certain required training to miners. Griffith Construction Company (“Griffith Construction”), an independent contractor that performed construction and other services at Brooks Run’s Cucumber Mine, used Dawson to provide training to its miners.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin stated, “Keeping miners safe is and will continue to be a top priority of this office and we will continue to focus our resources on bringing to justice individuals who jeopardize that safety.”

Dawson admitted that on November 3, 2008, near Iaeger, McDowell County, he knowingly and willfully made a materially false statement to special investigators with MSHA. At the time, Dawson further admitted that he falsely stated and represented to special investigators that “I always give the required training and always keep the miners the required amount of time,” when in fact, he had not given the required training to miners employed by Griffith Construction and had not kept the miners the required amount of time for training.

Joseph A. Main, Assistant Secretary, Mine Safety and Health Administration, stated: “Sentencing in this case serves as a sober reminder of the important role training plays in keeping the Nation’s miners safe and healthy.”

The Mine Act requires that new miners at a coal mine receive a certain number of hours of initial training. Regulations further require that initial training include instruction on: the miners’ work environment, including a visit to and a tour of the mine; hazard recognition; and health and safety aspects of the tasks to which they would be assigned.