Preventing Coal Mine Accidents

Posted on behalf of The Bell Law Firm, PLLC on Feb 01, 2011 in Coal Mining Accidents

In many of our previous posts, we have mentioned the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). The MSHA is a division of the U.S. Labor Department tasked with reducing injury, illness and death in American mines by implementing programs and activities. The responsibilities of the MSHA are specified by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. This act, which was created to help prevent a coal mine accident or other disaster, applies to every mining operation in the United States.

Organization of the 1977 Act

The 1977 Act includes several guidelines and organizational principles for mining operations to follow. Some of these are described below.

  • The MSHA must conduct four inspections of underground operations and two surface inspections of every mining operation each year.
  • The MSHA must issue detailed guidelines for safety and training for miners.
  • The MSHA encourages mine managers to seek additional resources for meeting mine health and safety requirements.

Other Organizations That Enforce Mine Safety Requirements

Coal Mine Safety and Health is an organization that inspects mines, investigates accidents and implements training programs in U.S. coal mines. The Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health organization plays a similar role in non-coal mines. The Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances develops and issues safety and health regulations with the help of the public.

Mine operators who put miners at risk by failing to comply with these requirements receive penalties from the Office of Assessments. The Office of Program Evaluation and Information Resources, or PEIR, reviews these types of agencies to ensure that corrective actions are taken when necessary.

Source: MSHA.gov, "MSHA Fact Sheet 95-1"

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