According to a new federal report, underground coal mines lack stockpiles of breathable air and communications gear for trapped workers. This revelation comes nearly two years after Congress required the industry to install more safety equipment. The U.S. Government Accountability Office report blames the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration for failing to act faster. Among other things, the report says poor leadership by MSHA has caused mine operators to miss opportunities to install better communications equipment.
Sweeping coal mine safety legislation, adopted after the deaths of 12 men at West Virginia’s Sago Mine and two other high-profile fatal accidents in 2006, mandated larger stockpiles of emergency air packs among other things. The MINER Act also gave MSHA until June 2009 to require wireless communications and tracking equipment underground. The Act was designed to better protect the 43,000 men and women working in the nation’s 700 underground coal mines. Unfortunately, like most all regulatory agencies, MSHA does a rather poor job of protecting the people it should be protecting. It’s high time for MSHA to do its job and make mines in this country safer for miners.
Source: Associated Press
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