Underground Coal Mining Accidents and Government Enforcement of Safety Regulations

Date Published: 
Fri, 07/01/1977

This paper explores the effectiveness of the Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, the nation's first truly significant mine safety regulatory law. The author finds that the empowered inspectorate created by the law demonstrably lowered death, disabling injury, and non-disabling injury rates. However, the fines levied upon unlawful mine operators appeared to have a negligible effect on safety.  The study also confirms an obvious fact: Speeding up production leads to higher injury rates.