mine safety

Jan Truter / Flickr (Creative Commons License)

In a new final rule this week the Mine Safety and Health Administration is requiring underground coal mines to equip their continuous mining machines with proximity detectors that give a warning and shut down the equipment when a miner gets too close.

Last month, a joint project by NPR and Mine Safety and Health News revealed that many of the nation's mines—coal and otherwise—operate despite owing large sums of money to the federal government for health and safety violations.

Jack Blankenship was pinned facedown in the dirt, his neck, shoulder and back throbbing with pain.

He was alone on an errand, in a dark tunnel a mile underground at the Aracoma Alma coal mine in Logan County, W.Va., when a 300-pound slab of rock peeled away from the roof and slammed him to the ground. As his legs grew numb, he managed to free an arm and reach his radio. For two hours, he pressed the panic button that was supposed to bring help quickly.


After the Kentucky General Assembly cut the Office of Mine Safety and Licensing budget by more than $4 million, Governor Steve Beshear is mandating it to restructure. The office will become the Division of Mine Safety under the Department of Natural Resources effective June 1.

Office of Mine Safety and Licensing Deals with Budget Cuts

May 15, 2014

As concerns about mine safety are raised after an explosion in a Turkish coal mine killed more than 200 miners, Kentucky mine safety officials are doing their best to keep Kentucky miners safe as they cope with a 38 percent cut in state funding.

The West Virginia mine where two workers were fatally injured on Monday consistently violated federal mine safety laws, but federal regulators say they were unable to shut it down completely.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration confirmed that two workers were killed on May 12 when coal and rocks burst from mine walls at Patriot Coal's Brody No. 1 mine in Boone County, W.Va.


The Kentucky Senate will likely restore funding to conduct coal mine inspections in the state budget.

Currently, mines get six state inspections a year. A previous draft of the budget cut the number to two. Senate President Robert Stivers says his chamber will likely restore funding for six inspections.