mine safety

MSHA

  President Trump has nominated a retired West Virginia mine executive to lead the nation’s top mine safety agency. David Zatazelo is the former head of Rhino Resources, a coal company that was the focus of scrutiny by regulators in 2011 over safety violations. The nomination comes as mine safety experts are expressing concern over a rash of fatal coal mining accidents. This year, 12 miners have died -- eight of them in West Virginia and Kentucky.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Lawmakers in both Kentucky and West Virginia are working to loosen mine safety regulations, alarming some mine safety experts.

WKMS File Photo

An employee of a western Kentucky mine has been indicted by a federal grand jury for falsifying safety records and lying to inspectors. 

Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

The Democratic candidate for governor in West Virginia has never held public office. Jim Justice is instead running on his record as a businessman. He runs coal mines, farms, and a luxury resort, and according to Forbes, he’s also the wealthiest person in the state, worth $1.56 billion.


Todd Hatton, WKMS

Anything is possible, but it seems unlikely that a Senate bill to abolish state mine safety inspections will pass the General Assembly this year. Legislators are scheduled to return to Frankfort next week for one day before concluding this year’s regular session.

iStockPhoto

An investigation into an accident that killed a coal miner in Western Kentucky last year found he was crushed after workers propped up an 18-ton machine with a stack of wooden boards that gave way.  

WKMS File Photo

A bill that would eliminate state inspections of Kentucky coal mines is headed to the full senate. The measure was heard Wednesday in the Senate Natural Resources Committee.

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.

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