Mine Safety

Mine Safety

Mining is one of the nation’s most dangerous jobs. Since 1900, 104,722 Americans have died in coal mining accidents (23,608 in non-coal sectors) while hundreds of thousands have died from black lung, an incurable lung disease brought on by consistent inhalation of coal dust. The first federal mine safety law was passed in 1910, and the government has slowly added new laws every few decades since, usually in the wake of disaster. In 1977, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) was created to promulgate, monitor and enforce safety regulations.

Commentary

Massey CEO: "It's (Always) The Government's Fault"

May 20, 2011
US Capitol building

Darrel Issa’s Government Handover

January 05, 2011
Coal Miner

After Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, Republicans Still Obstructing Progress

October 05, 2010

Cry Wolf Quotes

Federal policing of coal-mine operations, is wrong in principal; and if, as we believe it, it is certainly contrary to the spirit of our form of government and probably contrary to the letter of our constitution.

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John D. Battle, Executive Secretary of the National Coal Association, testimony, House Committee on Mines and Mining.
06/04/1940 | Full Details | Law(s): Mine Safety Act of 1941

The basic idea is OSHA [and by extension MSHA] has lost its purpose. Its purpose started off being the health and safety of workers, and now it's been more like a cop on the beat who gets rewarded for the number of tickets he can hand out. And it has become an anti-business operation of the federal government.

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Representative Cass Ballenger (R-NC), Business Insurance.

[99 percent of mining accidents] are due absolutely to the carelessness or willful negligence of the men employed in them [sic].

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Industry publication Coal Trade Bulletin.
05/01/1905 | Full Details | Law(s): Mine Safety Act of 1910

Mr. Ankeny, a former director of the Bureau of Mines, has made the statement publicly that passage of bills would not be expected to reduce the accident rate. Therefore, how can we, in logic or in good conscience, say that we are going to pass…a bill to improve the safety record, when two previous directors of the Bureau of Mines said that passage of laws would not reduce the accident rate?

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W. Foster Mullins, Chief Mine Inspector for Virginia, Testimony, House Committee on Education and Labor.

Evidence

Backgrounders & Briefs

2011 Death on the Job

The AFL-CIO's annual report about death, illness, and injury at work.

Resources

The Charleston Gazette's blog Coal Tattoo, written by veteran reporter Ken Ward Jr., is a cutting edge blogon the coal industry.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration is the goverment agency responsible for the regulation of America's mines.