A 49-year-old shaft whistleblower died in a methane explosion – in the Murcki-Staszic mine in 2016. The prosecutor’s office accused six employees of the higher mining supervision. The evidence indicated that despite exceeding the permissible methane concentrations, they did not decide to stop work in the endangered zone and withdraw the crew. They heard the convictions on Thursday. The decision is not final.
The District Court in Katowice found guilty and sentenced six defendants in the case of an accident at the Murcki-Staszic mine, where one of the miners was killed in a methane explosion in July 2016.
– Four defendants were convicted of bringing about a mining disaster resulting in the death of one person and violation of labor rights – to a one-year imprisonment with a conditional suspension for a probationary period of two years – informed Marta Zawada-Dybek, spokeswoman for the District Prosecutor’s Office in Katowice, who conducted the investigation and in September 2020, she sent an indictment in this matter.
– Two more defendants were sentenced to six months’ imprisonment with a conditional suspension for a probationary period of two years for an offense of endangering the life and health of many people. The court also imposed fines on the defendants – added Zawada-Dybek.
The 49-year-old whistleblower was over 400 meters underground
The methane explosion took place on July 27, 2016 in the Zygmunt ventilation shaft. The explosion damaged the shaft building – part of the roof collapsed. After the explosion, communication with the 49-year-old shaft signalman, who was more than 400 meters underground, near the pumping station, was severed.
The man did not survive. There were a total of six shaft operators and 19 underground workers in the hazardous area.
Evidence of a number of irregularities in the mine
On the basis of the collected evidence, including the opinion of experts from the Silesian University of Technology, the prosecutor’s office presented charges against six people – employees of the higher mining supervision, including the head of the ventilation department, shift manager in the ventilation department – a mining foreman, traffic dispatcher and methanometry.
Four suspects were charged with intentionally causing a catastrophe resulting in the death of one person and allegations of violation of workers’ rights. Two more people were accused of causing danger to the life and health of many people.
– The allegations were related to a number of irregularities that were committed in the mine. The evidence collected in the investigation showed that despite exceeding the permissible methane concentrations, the people from the higher supervision of the mine did not decide to stop work in the endangered zone and withdraw the crew – described a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office.
The judgment announced by the court in Katowice is not final. The prosecutor requested that a statement of reasons be prepared.
Main photo source: Contact 24