Discussion On Coal Mining Fatalities

For decades now coal miners in West Virginia have continued to worked hard but also face the dangers that come with the job every single day. Those dangers can unfortunately cause fatalities and that is why the federal mine safety officials have stepped in. Deputy Assistant Labor Secretary for Operations Patricia W. Silvey told us, “We did an analysis of our fatal’s, seven of the last fifteen fatal’s we determined had happened in West Virginia.”

 During a meeting on Thursday, Mine Safety and Health Administration met with miner operators and labor at the National Mine and Safety Academy to discuss ways they can prevent these fatalities from happening. Silvey told us, “We will be working with the mine operators on the ground, at the mine sites and we will have a focus on miners with one year of experience at the mine. One year of experience in mining and one year of experience at a particular mine. We will be reaching out and training, doing some on the spot training of those mines and asking the operators to work with us.”

One coal miner who has been working in the mines since 1977 and attended the discussion, says he believes the safety officials initiative will hopefully prevent these fatalities from happening. Coal miner Andy Fields said, “Nobody wants to send anybody to have a bad accident at the mines. We want to send all our miners home at the end of the shift. It’s ironic MSHA mentions that because it’s a focus that every coal miner that’s a manger, a worker, or anything to do with coal mining’s. That’s a little goal that we all have and it’s important to everybody and it’s mentioned constantly.”

During the week of June 12th, MSHA Coal Districts will contact operators to explain the details of the initiative. On June 19th, the site visits will begin and the initiative will continue through September 30th, unless it is necessary to extend it. The Districts will also be requesting operators to allow coal miners with more experience to travel with MSHA to visit the less experienced miners.

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