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.

Republican Lawmakers Seek To Block Funding On Black Lung Regulation

Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee – chaired by Kentucky Rep. Hal Rogers – have inserted into a broad appropriations bill language that would block funding for a Labor Department effort to reduce the occurrence of black lung, the disease that afflicts coal miners exposed to excessive mine dust.

Journalist Ken Ward targeted in libel suit by Murray Energy Corp

Murray Energy Corporation has filed a lawsuit against coal reporter Ken Ward, Jr. and his employer, the Charleston Gazette newspaper. The company claims that a blog post written by Ward was libelous. The post was written about a recent visit by Governor Mitt Romney to an Ohio-based mine owned by Murray Energy.

Retired miners health benefits threatened by Peabody move

United Mine Workers of America officials told thousands of retired coal miners in Western Kentucky that the bankruptcy of Patriot Coal Corp. threatens their health insurance and can be blamed on their former employer, Peabody Energy Corp.

The Prairie State Coal Plant: The Reality vs. the Promise

This report describes why communities that bought shares of the new Prairie State coal project face higher than projected initial costs and significant economic risks for the future. 

Nation's newest coal plant isn't providing cheap power

When Peabody energy sold shares in a 1600 MW coal-burning power plant to towns and electric co-ops in the mid-west, communities were promised cheap power. Now the first bills are coming due. Residents of Paducah and Princeton in western Kentucky, along with 2.5 million other customers in nearby states, face higher than expected costs and economic risks.

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