10/4/2013 10:15 AM
by Nadine Grimley
FLATWOODS - The state's mine safety board rejected a regulation that could help prevent crushing injuries and deaths underground, despite objections from the United Mine Workers and a coal miner's widow.
The West Virginia Coal Association fought the regulation, while union safety advocates and victim's families pushed for it. The rule required coal companies to put proximity detection systems on equipment to stop machines when a worker got too close. Industry officials said it needed further study and discussion.
The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration pushed for similar laws.
Caitlin O'Dell's husband, Steven, was crushed last December at an Alpha Natural Resources Mine in Greenbrier County. O'Dell told the board of coal mine health and safety that it will have blood on its hands.