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MSHA 11 articles

Government Shutdowns Can Turn Deadly For U.S. Workers

Government shutdowns are dreaded by government employees and anyone depending on the services of the federal government, but they can also be deadly for the average U.S. worker. Newsweek recently took a look at how government gridlock has a ripple effect throughout the country that can go deeper than meets the eye. Literally. Four coal miners died in 2013 when the government idled for more than two weeks, furloughing almost all the federal regulatory workforce that inspects workplaces and jobsites for safety lapses and enforces penalties on employers that put the lives of their workers at risk of serious injury ... Read More

Coal Miner Deaths Surged in 2017 After Record Lows

The number of coal miner deaths surged in 2017 after hitting record lows in 2015 and 2016. Reporting federal labor statistics, the Associated Press said that 15 coal miner deaths were recorded in 2017. Eight of those coal miner deaths occurred in West Virginia mines; two of the deaths occurred in Kentucky; and there was one coal miner death each in Alabama, Colorado, Montana, Pennsylvania and Wyoming. The spate of coal miner deaths in 2017 is seen by some safety advocates and legislators as an alarming reversal of a coal mine trend brought on by policies instituted after the deadly ... Read More

Coal Miner Black Lung Protections Head to Trump’s Chopping Block

Donald Trump touted himself as a friend of the coal industry on the campaign trail, but does his love of coal extend to the men and women who mine it? Last week, the U.S. Labor Department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) published a notice saying that regulations protecting coal miners from black lung disease could soon be headed to the chopping block. The stated purpose of the notice, titled “Regulatory Reform of Existing Standards and Regulations; Retrospective Study of Respirable Coal Mine Dust Rule,” is to revisit the existing standards and regulations to see if they “could be improved ... Read More

Mining Deaths Hit Record Lows In 2015

Improvements in mining safety have dramatically reduced the number of U.S. miner fatalities over the last five years, with mining deaths dropping to record lows in 2015, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) officials said Tuesday. Speaking at an annual Stone, Sand and Gravel Association convention in Nashville, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph A. Main discussed actions the MSHA and the mining industry have taken in recent years to drive down the number of miner deaths, including better compliance with federal safety regulations. A sharp reduction in the number of chronic violators, combined with a historically low levels ... Read More

New Rules To Prevent Black Lung In Coal Miners Takes Effect

As of Feb. 1, U.S. coal mine operators must comply with new federal mine-safety rules that aim to drive down the number of miners who develop black lung disease – an incurable and debilitating illness caused by the frequent and prolonged inhalation of coal dust. The new rule is the second phase of a landmark rule the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) introduced in August 2014 to protect miners from inhaling damaging levels of coal dust and help them to live longer, healthier lives. The new rule requires mine operators to equip coal digging machine operators with continuous personal ... Read More

New Rule Aims To Prevent Crushing, Pinning Deaths In underground Mines

In an push to prevent more miners from becoming killed or injured by heavy equipment, federal regulators proposed a new rule Sept. 2 that would make proximity detection devices mandatory on vehicles used in underground mines, including shuttle cars, ram cars, and scoops. In the last three decades, pinning, crushing and striking accidents killed 42 miners and injured 179 others, many catastrophically. Just in the last five-year period, these types of preventable accidents have killed nine miners and injured several others. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) says that proximity detection systems, which use electronic sensors to detect motion ... Read More

Massey executive sentenced to 42 months for deadly West Virginia mine blast

A former Massey Energy Co. executive has been sentenced to 42 months in prison for his role in the 2010 Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion in West Virginia, which killed 29 miners. David C. Hughart, 53, pleaded guilty February 28 to federal charges of conspiracy to impede the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and conspiracy to violate U.S. laws regulating mine health and safety.  As president of Massey subsidiary company White Buck Coal, Hughart is the highest-ranking executive charged thus far in connection with the Upper Big Branch blast, the deadliest mining disaster in more than 40 years. ... Read More

Final settlements reached in WV mine explosion, criminal charges likely to follow

Alpha Natural Resources, the new owner of West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch Mine, has settled with the remaining families of the miners who were killed in an April 2010 explosion, believed to be the worst mining disaster in 40 years. The 13 families who hadn’t reached an agreement with Alpha or the mine’s previous owner, Massey Energy, accepted settlement offers after more than four days of talks with a mediator, according to the Charleston Gazette. The 16 other families either settled with Massey before the Alpha buyout or reached agreements with the new owner. Details of the latest settlements, including ... Read More

Inactive mining areas filled with dangers for recreation seekers

Mines are some of the most dangerous worksites in the United States, but the inherent dangers associated with mines – falling rock, cave-ins, even drowning and falling hazards – linger long after the last bit of ore has been extracted and the mine abandoned. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), for every one of the 14,000 active mines in the U.S., there are about 36 inactive or closed mines scattered throughout the country. That’s about half a million potentially deadly mines. Northeast Pennsylvania’s Republican Herald, which serves an area abundant in mining operations, ... Read More

Massey Energy hires PR agency to revamp image after mining disaster

The board of Massey Energy, parent company and owner of Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia where 29 miners died in explosion earlier this month, is seeking a public relations boost from a Texas-based firm with political connections. Since the tragic explosion on April 5, Massey’s safety record has come to the public’s attention, revealing a systemic disregard for critical safety measures that could have prevented the disaster had they been followed. The incident has placed Massey Energy and its controversial CEO Don Blankenship under fire from all directions. On the outside, federal regulators, safety advocates, and victims’ families ... Read More