June 19, 2007 The Pump Handle

Several members of the U.S. House and Senate introduced bills today to strengthen mine safety and health protections.  A  statement issued by Congressman George Miller (D-CA) says the bill builds upon the legislation passed in June 2006 called the MINER Act. 

June 15, 2007 The Pump Handle 4Comment

MSHA issued a news release yesterday announcing that eight mine operators have been put on notice for potential enforcement under the “pattern of violation” provisions of the Mine Act.  MSHA’s release does not list the names of the mining operations, but the Charleston Gazette’s Ken Ward is reporting that two of the mines are metal/non-metal operations and six are coal mines, […]

June 8, 2007 The Pump Handle

Richard Stickler, the Asst. Secretary for MSHA, announced a new educational campaign to increase awareness about black lung disease.  This latest initiative comes in response to surveillance data showing newly diagnosed cases of progressive massive fibrosis (PMF) among miners working in Lee County and Wise County, Virginia.  Stickler’s “Control the Dust/Prevent Black Lung” campaign, which includes a personal letter sent to each and every underground coal mine […]

May 18, 2007 The Pump Handle

When MSHA issued its 190-page report last week on the January 2006 Sago Mine disaster, most of the press focused on the agency’s conclusion that a lightning strike was the “most likely ignition source” for the explosion.  Readers should not forget however, that 29 coal miners were underground at the time of the explosion.  Only one (Mr. Terry […]

May 14, 2007 The Pump Handle 1Comment

In March 2006, a coalition of industry trade groups, led by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), filed suit in federal court challenging OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard.  This rule, issued by OSHA in 1983, (48 Federal Register 53280) provides fundamental right-to-know protections to most U.S. workers.  Among other things, the HazCom rule requires employers to give workers access […]

April 13, 2007 The Pump Handle

The owners-operators of the Kentucky Darby Mine No. 1, Ralph Napier, Connie G. Napier, and John D. North, were assessed a $336,000 penalty by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) for violations related to the May 20, 2006 explosion and death of five coal miners.  Press reports indicate that MSHA officials met for four […]

March 29, 2007 The Pump Handle

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced a record $1.5 million penalty against Massey Energy Company for violations related to the January 19, 2006 deaths of Ellery Hatfield, 46 and Don Bragg, 33 at the Aracoma Alma #1 Mine in Stollings, WV.  The investigators, led by MSHA district manager Kenny Murray of Pikeville, KY, […]

March 14, 2007 The Pump Handle

The United Mineworkers of America (UMWA) will be issuing tomorrow (March 15) a report on the January 2006 Sago Mine disaster.  West Virginia Senators Byrd and Rockefeller are expected to join UMWA President Cecil Roberts in the Senate Dirksen Building at 11:00 am (EST) for a news conference releasing the report.  The UMWA will likely offer their own theory for the cause […]

March 9, 2007 The Pump Handle

CBS News correspodent Bob Simon traveled to eastern Kentucky to investigate the hazards faced by underground coal miners.  His conversation with women who lost their husbands in the May 2006 Darby Mine disaster will air on this Sunday, March 11 at 7:00 PM (EST).

February 27, 2007 The Pump Handle

The House Education and Labor Committee, chaired by George Miller (D-CA), issued a progress report on MSHA’s implementation of the MINER Act of 2006.  The report says implementation by the agency and mining industry of certain provisions of the new law are “proceeding too slowly,” including inadequate application of underground communication and tracking devices.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s blog “The Gavel” quickly […]