Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Safety Violations at Coal Mines

Today the Washington Post reported that Upper Big Branch coal mine, the site of Monday's explosion that killed at least 25 workers, was written up more than 50 times last month for safety violations. Rescuers are still searching for four missing miners, and the government is planning to investigate the explosion.

You can find your own data on mine safety, for any U.S. mine or mine operator, by searching in the Mine Safety and Health Administration's (MSHA) Mine Data Retrieval System. The MSHA has also created a web page containing information and resources about the explosion. It provides a link to general mining statistics, which you might be interested in comparing to Upper Big Branch's safety record.

The Post article mentions that the MINER Act of 2006 (PL 109-236) enhanced MSHA's ability to regulate mine safety (you can find a summary of the act here). Could MSHA be doing more? The administration is holding a public meeting on April 27 to discuss the subject of mine emergency preparedness and response.

To find additional government resources about occupational safety, take a look at our guide.

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