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.

Kentucky officials seek to punish miner who reported safety violations

Mackie Bailey is being charged by state officials for participating in an unsafe practice at a Harlan County coal mine, although he was told by his supervisors to do so. Federal officials, however, have used Bailey's testimony to convict the superisors of mine safety violtations.

Kentucky Mine Flagged by MSHA, Placed on Special Status

The federal Minew SAfety and Health Administration has given four mines – including Pike Floyd Mining Inc.’s No. 3 Mine in Pike County – a warning that if they don’t make strides in health and safety, they could be put on a “pattern of violations” status.

 

Overview of the Obama administrations actions & impact on the coal industry

This article does a solid job examining the impact of actions taken by the Obama administration that relate to the coal industry. The article quotes numerous people in the coal industry and financial sector who admit that the recent woes of the industry are "primarily due to changing market conditions, not environmental rule revisions."

Hal Rogers wins dubious distinction – again

Kentucky's 5th District representative Hal Rogers once again earned one of the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" titles from a national watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics.

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