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Fewer West Virginia Coal Miners Fail Drug Tests in 2015


Officials say fewer West Virginia coal miners failed drug tests last year.

Eugene White, director of the West Virginia Mine Safety Office, tells the Times West Virginian that around 290 miners failed drug tests in 2015. That's down from 310 workers in 2013 and 314 workers in 2014.

White said the number of test failures is likely down because fewer miners are working. The decline of the coal industry has forced mines to shut down and lay off workers. But White said coal companies are also taking steps to fight substance abuse among their employees.

West Virginia law requires coal mines to test at least 25 percent of their workers. Workers who fail a test are immediately suspended, pending a hearing with the board of appeals.

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