The Senate Natural Resources Committee voted Wednesday to give the State Division of Mine Safety flexibility in carrying out their evaluations of Kentucky mines.
Six annual inspections are required under current law. The proposed legislation allows for up to 3 of those visits to be made by mine safety specialists.
Department for Natural Resources Commissioner Allen Luttrell said the safety specialists evaluate conditions at each mine.
“The analysis visit starts with an eminent danger sweep of the working faces," Luttrell said. "So, you’re really coupling an inspection with a behavior based analysis of the individual workers.”
Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely says the changes in the inspection process are necessitated by a drop in coal severance tax revenues. He told committee members the inspection staff had been reduced from 172 to 76.