Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969
In response to the horrific 1968 Farmington mine disaster, which killed seventy-eight men, Congress passed the 1969 Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act (FCMHS). The FCMHS concretely established that underground mines were to be inspected four times a year to ensure health and safety standards, while surface mines were to be inspected twice, the first time these mine were included in federal regulations. Regulatory authority was finally ceded to the Bureau of Mines and the Department of the Interior, relieving the state agencies of the entire burden, and grating federal inspectors the right to enter mines and levy fines. Mandatory monetary fines were finally instituted as an enforcement tool, although the sizes of the fines were not large enough to deter larger companies ($10,000 was the maximum, with no minimum limit). Criminal penalties were made available for chronic or conscious violators. FCHMS even included an entire segment devoted to monetary recompense for miners crippling disabled by “black lung”. The Social Security Administration had to compensate black-lung victims, giving the average miner and his family about $200 a month in 1969.
Cry Wolf Quotes
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?
Mr. Forbes, a former director of the Bureau of Mines has gone on record as saying that accidents are problems of human failure and that if the Bureau and industry are going to correct these accidents that they have to be attacked through the medium of correction within the human mind, and the human body, and the man has to be made to act safely.
Regulations at Work: Five Rules that Save Workers’ Lives and Protect their Health
This paper looks at five worker-safety regulations that were tremendously successful in reducing employee injuries, illnesses and fatalities.
- 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."