Coal Mine Safety

Underground Mine, Miners, Mining
Robert PEnergy / wikimedia commons

The federal agency that oversees mining safety is holding public stakeholder meetings in six states, including West Virginia.

This Feb. 15, 2017 photo shows railroad tracks along the West Virginia town of Matoaka, which once carried coal trains several times a day and at night.
Michael Virtanen / AP

Two mines owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice were among three across the state that missed the deadline for installing life-saving technology to prevent miners from being crushed by machinery in underground coal mines.

Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A federal report says the wall that crushed a miner to death in West Virginia earlier this year wasn't properly supported.

Seven U.S. coal miners died in accidents so far this year, most of them with less than a year of experience at that particular job and mine, according to federal officials. In all of last year, eight miners died.

Tim Watkins, deputy administrator for Coal Mine Safety and Health, said Thursday they're launching an initiative as soon as possible to talk to miners and try to determine if there are training deficiencies.

U.S. National Archive Jack Corn

On Inside Appalachia this week, a look back at VISTA workers and the impact they had on our region in the 1960's. They were Volunteers in Service to America.  VISTA was started in December 1964 by President Lyndon B Johnson as part of his "War on Poverty". 

Join West Virginia Public Broadcasting for an exclusive preview of The Mine Wars from PBS's American Experience series, with special guest, Executive Producer Mark Samels.

The event will be held Thursday, January 21 at 6:30 pm in Beckley, WV in the Hulett C. Smith theater at Tamarack.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Nov. 20 marks the anniversary of the 1968 Farmington Mine Disaster, which killed 78 men. It was the worst U.S. mine disaster in 50 years. On Sunday, a crowd of about 150 people gathered at the memorial of the Farmington Mine Disaster.

Jessica Lilly

Prosecutors continued to call witnesses on the tenth day of the trial against former Massey Energy CEO, Don Blankenship. Prosecutor Steve Ruby picked back up with questioning of Mine Safety and Health inspector Keith McElroy. McElroy was one of the investigators of the Upper Big Branch Mine Explosion that killed 29 men.

Fotolia DollarPhoto Club

Public hearings are set this month on a proposed federal rule to require coal mine operators to equip coal hauling machines and scoops with sensors intended to curb fatalities and injuries in underground mines.

The sensors automatically shut down equipment when people get too close.

A proposed rule from the Mine Safety and Health Administration will be published Wednesday, September 2, 2015 and requires all haulage machinery in underground coal mines be equipped with technology that prevents miners from being struck, pinned, or crushed.

Prosecutors say in court documents that evidence about the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster is a necessary part of the government's criminal case against former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

Sketch artist Jesse Corlis

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship wants a judge to let him take a business trip to North Carolina.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin
Courtesy Photo

Senator Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania Democratic Senator Bob Casey have introduced comprehensive mine safety legislation to Congress.

The Senators say ‘The Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act of 2015’ will help fix a broken regulatory system.

Update March 9, 2015 8:58 a.m.

Spokesperson of the West Virginia Office of Miner's Health Safety and Training, Leslie Smithson says one miner died and two others were injured in an accident on Sunday night.

Smithson reports that the injuries happened at the McElroy Mine in Marshall County. Forty-five-year-old Assistant Longwall Coordinator John M. Garloch died in  after a roof collapsed, according to initial reports. In an email, Monday morning, Smithson said two other miners were injured and transported to local hospitals for treatment. One of those miners has been released; the other remains hospitalized.

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

At the legislature today, the senate passes the Governor’s bill to reform the state’s juvenile justice system.  Senators from both sides of the aisle praise the bill they say will mend troubled kids and their families.  A public hearing this morning brings out the issue of discrimination against the LGBT community in West Virginia.  And the State Board of Education held an emergency meeting Friday to discuss  a bill they say could cause substantial harm to students, teachers, and school systems in the state.  We’ll find out more on The Legislature Today.

House Erupts in Debate Over Mine Safety

Feb 25, 2015
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Some heated debate took place in the House Judiciary Committee yesterday as a proposal about transporting mining equipment was discussed. The idea caused concern for some as it does appear to relax some safety rules.

Senate Takes Back the Charter Schools Bill

Feb 24, 2015

At the legislature today, bills are read in their entirety on the Senate floor as Democrats retaliate for action on the charter schools bill.  In the House, the Judiciary committee begins to consider amendments to the Coal Mine Safety and Jobs Act.  And, we’ll get a first look at a new documentary about one of West Virginia’s most notable politicians on The Legislature Today.

Mine Safety Discussed in the House

Feb 11, 2015
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Lawmakers voted to approve several pieces of legislation including the Coal Jobs and Safety Act. Ashton Marra will bring us up to date on this, along with other stories on this West Virginia Morning.

Coal Mine Safety Debated in House and Senate

Feb 10, 2015

At the legislature today, emotional debate in both houses as the Senate takes up the Coal Jobs and Safety Act of 2015. In the House, Delegates focused on the legal remedies those hurt or killed in a mining accident will have. And we'll talk with Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick about his plans to grow the state's economy on The Legislature Today.

Mine Accident Victims and Their Families Speak Out

Jan 22, 2015
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Coming up on West Virginia Morning, Possible changes to the rules concerning lawsuits over certain workplace injuries in West Virginia’s coal industry are being challenged by coal mining accident victims and their families.

This week we revisit an Inside Appalachia episode from 2014 packed with so much information we felt it’s worth sharing again.

We go back into the archives for the November 15, 2014 show. It includes an interview with Gary Quarles, who lost his son Gary Wayne Quarles, in the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster in 2010. He spoke with host Jessica Lilly about Don Blankenship's indictment before federal Judge Irene Berger ordered a gag order against speaking with the media and more.

A seemingly fitting show since on this same day, nine years ago, loved one gathered in West Virginia as they waited to hear if their loved ones survived a mine disaster. In the end, they found 12 coal miners died.

Paul Corbitt Brown

W.Va. Poet: “Appalachian Blackface” Story of 2014 Election Cycle: Have you ever heard the term ‘Affrilachian?’ It’s one poet Crystal Good uses to describe herself, an African American who grew up and lives in Appalachia. Good is a native of St. Albans, in West Virginia’s chemical valley. Good’s newest poem, “Appalachian Blackface,” premiered this fall at the Summit on Race Matters in Appalachia held in Charleston.