Mine Safety

Safer Union Mines

Mountains & miners deserve better

Studies show that union mines are much safer than non-union mines. A May 2011 report from the John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics at Stanford University found a "substantial and significant decline in traumatic mining injuries and fatalities" at underground mines where the United Mine Workers of America represented workers.

The report found that over two decades there were:

  • between 18 and 33 percent fewer traumatic injuries at union mines, compared to non-union operations;
  • between 27 to 68 percent fewer fatal accidents at union mines (the range in figures accounts for possible statistical variations because of small sample sizes).

 

Need a Lawyer?

If you are a coal miner and need legal representation on a mine safety issue, we suggest you contact:

Wes Addington
Appalachian Citizens Law Center
317 Main Street
Whitesburg, Ky 41858
606-633-3929
aclc@appalachianlawcenter.org

OR

Tony Oppegard
Attorney-At-Law
P.O. Box 22446
Lexington, Ky 40522
859-948-9239
tonyoppegard@gmail.com

Support Mine Safety graphicAbove all else, coal companies should be diligent about the safety of their workers and the conditions inside their mines. Officials responsible for enforcing mine safety laws should do so wihout interference. And elected leaders should strengthen those laws when the need is clearly demonstrated.

Unfortunately, none of this happens as it should.

An examination of 320 coal mine deaths from 1996 to 2005 by Ken Ward Jr. of the Charleston Gazette found that 91 percent of those deaths could be traced to a serious safety violation, including not performing required safety checks, poorly maintained equipment, roof control and ventilation violations, and inadequate training.

sacraficed-forgotten mine safety graphic

The disaster that killed 29 miners at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia in April 2010 reminds us that not enough has changed since Ward's report. Yet legislation to address some of the enforcement issues brought to light by this tragedy is stalled in the U.S. Congress.

KFTC has established this space to provide news, analysis and opinions about mine safety issues. We'll  update the list below as new articles and reports become available.

After decades of decline, black lung on the rise in Eastern Kentucky

Black lung – a preventable occupational disease – has been the underlying or contributing cause of death of more than 76,000 miners since 1968, according to figures from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Reuben Shemwell, Kentucky Miner, Wins Discrimination Case After Being Sued By Own Employer

In a ruling that could have wide implications for coal miners, a federal judge has rebuked a coal company for trying to sue a Kentucky miner who filed a safety discrimination complaint against management. The decision has called the company's lawsuit a form of retaliation …

Schemes from the Boardroom: The War by Arch and Peabody on the Aging, Ill, and Disabled

This report delivers the findings of a hearing in April 2013 hearing with members of the United Mine Workers of America miners, their families and dependents who are threatened with loss of their health care benefits. Present were retirees and family members, clergy, community and health care officials, union leaders, and labor experts to address how St.

Black Lung Disease Rates Rise Among Appalachian Miners

Black lung disease and dust-induced lung diseases, such as emphysema and lung cancer, are on the rise among Appalachian miners.

Three years after Big Branch disaster, mine safety issues not fully addressed

Coal miners continue to die unnecessarily, and the lack of action by state and federal officials has something to do with this.

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