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.
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.
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?
Violations are unfortunately a normal part of the mining process.
We firmly believe behavior modification and training are the keys to ensure miners know and want to do their work in a safe manner.
Related Laws and Rules
- Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969
- Coal Mine Safety Act of 1952
- Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act (MINER)
- Mine Safety Act of 1910
- Mine Safety Act of 1941
- Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977
- Mine Safety Code of 1946-47
- Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety and Health Act
- Safety and Health Improvement and Regulatory Reform Act of 1995
- Occupational Health and Safety Regulation in the Coal Mining Industry: Public Health at the Workplace (Subscription Required)
- Underground Coal Mining Accidents and Government Enforcement of Safety Regulations
Fatality Rates and Regulatory Policies in Bituminous Coal Mining, United States, 1959-1981
This study looks a coal mining deaths in the decade leading up to the game-changing Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, and then examines what happened in the decade after passage. The key take way: "For the period from 1950 to 1969, there was no decline in fatality rates among underground miners. For the period from 1970 to 1980, there was a significant decline in fatality rates."