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

We also endure a Mine Safety and Health Administration that seeks power over coal miners versus improving their safety and their health. As someone who has overseen the mining of more coal than anyone else in the history of central Appalachia, I know that the safety and health of coal miners is my most important job. I don’t need Washington politicians to tell me that, and neither do you. But I also know — I also know Washington and state politicians have no idea how to improve miner safety. The very idea that they care more about coal miner safety than we do is as silly as global warming.

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Massey CEO Don Blankenship’s speech at his anti-union Labor Day rally.
09/07/2009 | Full Details | Law(s): General: Mine Safety

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.

The coal industry accepts its responsibilities for the safe operation of its mines and where regulation achieves greater safety, we have no quarrel. But, where it does not enhance safety, we believe that Federal regulation is misplaced and counterproductive. Rigid, inflexible, thoughtless regulation, no matter how well intended, can have a plainly detrimental effect on achieving a safe, efficient, and productive coal industry. It’s the overregulation and enforcement of the Act as an end in itself that has caused the coal industry most of its problems…

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Ralph Bailey chairman and chief executive officer of Consolidation Coal Co. on behalf of the National Coal Association and the Bituminous Coal Operators Association, Testimony, House Subcommittee on Labor Standards.

[The bill will] Not strike at the fundamental cause of accidents, which in the main is the carelessness on the part of men, cured only by education.

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National Coal Association Counsel, Charles Farrington. Testimony, Senate Subcommittee on Mines and Mining.

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.