The Mine Safety and Health Administration is declining to issue an emergency temporary standard that could protect coal miners whose jobs make them vulnerable to the coronavirus.
That’s according to an Aug. 14 letter from Department of Labor Deputy Assistant Secretary Joe Wheeler to West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. MSHA can issue emergency temporary standards only when it determines that miners are exposed to a grave danger. It has only issued a handful of such standards, MSHA said, typically in the aftermath of large-scale mining disasters.
In the letter, Wheeler writes, “At this time, MSHA has determined it lacks evidence that COVID-19 poses a grave risk specific to miners.”