Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration

As Congressional Panel Focuses On Black Lung, UMW Urges Stronger Health Protections

Jun 19, 2019
Black lung is a deadly disease caused by exposure to dust underground.
Department of Labor

As Congress hears testimony on the epidemic of black lung disease among Appalachian miners, two labor leaders are calling on Congress and regulators to do more to protect miners.

Gov. Jim Justice, R. W.Va., delivers his annual State of the State speech on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in Charleston, W.Va.
Tyler Evert / Associated Press

Updated May 8, 2019 at 2:45 p.m. 

 

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a civil lawsuit against 23 coal companies owned by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, seeking more than $4.7 million in unpaid fines and fees for mine safety and health violations.

Mine Workers Sue Federal Regulators Over Controversial Mine Safety Decision

Dec 5, 2018
This MSHA inspection photograph shows where Affinity mine shuttle operator John Myles was killed in 2013.
MSHA

The United Mine Workers of America is suing the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA, after the agency reduced its heightened oversight of a West Virginia coal mine with a poor safety record. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

President Donald Trump’s top mine safety regulator used a recent lecture at West Virginia University to lay out his priorities for the agency charged with keeping miners safe. 

David Zatezalo, a West Virginia native and former mine executive, focused on how the Mine Safety and Health Administration could use technology to reduce mining fatalities and injuries. But as Brittany Patterson reports, he offered few remedies for the shocking increase in black lung disease.

Underground Mine, Miners, Mining
Robert PEnergy / wikimedia commons

Federal inspectors issued 163 citations and five orders at U.S. mine operations in December.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration says the inspections were conducted at 10 coal mines and seven other mines in 13 states.

A memo newly filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office depicts concerns a former Massey Energy employee, and key witness in the prosecution’s case, had over safety within Massey’s mines, warning the company needed to “change the way we do business.”

AllVoices.com

Federal inspectors issued 193 citations and 13 orders at U.S. mine operations in August.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration says it conducted the inspections at 14 coal mines and seven other mines.

The special impact inspections were conducted in 12 states, including Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

The inspections began in 2010 after the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in West Virginia killed 29 miners.

Federal regulators issued 199 citations during impact inspections of U.S. mines in November.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration conducted the inspections at 10 coal mines and six metal and nonmetal mines.

Sketch artist Jesse Corlis

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship appeared Wednesday in US Federal Court in Beckley.

Judge Irene Berger heard arguments in two hearings in relation to Blankenship’s criminal case.  

One involved a motion to lift the broad gag order while the other requested more time to prepare motions and for trial.

Several media outlets including Friends of West Virginia Public Broadcasting and NPR are challenging a gag order Judge Berger issued after former coal company CEO Don Blankenship was indicted on federal conspiracy charges.

WV Division of Culture and History

Once considered untouchable, former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was indicted on four federal charges in connection with the Upper Big Branch Disaster that killed 29 men in 2010. It’s news that folks in the coalfields never thought would happen.

In this episode, we’ll hear a special investigative series of reports about outlaw coal mining companies that keep operating despite injuries, violations and millions in fines.

And a new lawsuit has just been filed on behalf of the 78 coal miners who died in the Farmington Mine Disaster. We’ll hear memories from Sarah Kasnoski, one of the widows who lost her husband on that fateful date, November 20, 1968. 

Investigating Outlaw Mines That Keep Operating Despite Delinquent Fines

A recent investigative report has uncovered that some coal companies are working the system to avoid paying fines. The report also finds a connection between skirted financial penalties and injured coal miners: mines with more delinquent fines also have higher rates of injured workers.

NPR and Mine Safety and Health News sifted through citations, and documents for more than a year to find the connection. NPR’s Howard Berkes says it was no easy task. Each delinquent fine has a different start date, so tracking the injuries associated with the delinquent fines was complicated. In this episode, we hear the first three of these reports. We also talk with Berkes about mine safety and the development of these investigations.

Mine Safety Threatened by Deliquent Fines

Nov 13, 2014
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Jessica Lilly talks with NPR’s Howard Berkes about his investigation that links delinquent fines for mine safety violations to more injured coal miners.  And schools in Mingo County are no longer under state control after the state board of education gave back control to the local school board yesterday, but the board remains concerned about educational conditions in Fayette County.

The government says that the number of chronic safety violators among mine operators has fallen sharply in recent years.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration says the number has dropped in response to reforms the agency has taken to rein in mines cited frequently for safety violations.

Prior to 2010 no mine had ever been placed on a pattern of violations, or POV status. Safety reforms aligned the POV regulatory rule, with Congress’s original intent in enacting the Mine Act.
 

Jessica Lilly

Landmark regulation by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration meant to lower the amount of dust in mines begins Friday. The first part is meant to fix the loopholes in the sampling process. Victims of black lung hope the new regulations give young workers a better future. 

msha.gov

The first part of the landmark regulation meant to prevent black lung disease takes effect Friday. This phase is meant to fix regulatory loopholes in the sampling process.


Federal mine regulators are proposing a change in the criteria for civil penalties for health and safety violations. The Mine Safety and Health Administration Tuesday announced plans to publish a proposed new rule.

 

Federal impact inspections at U.S. mine operations in April resulted in 147 citations and 15 orders.   

The Mine Safety and Health Administration conducted the inspections at 12 coal mines and four other mines.