Three Coal Mining Deaths Since Shutdown Concern UMW, MSHA

One occurred in West Virginia, another in Illinois, and the third in Wyoming, the Charleston Gazette's Ken Ward Jr. reported.

Three coal miners have died in workplace accidents in the United States since the federal government shutdown began Oct. 1, with leaders of both the United Mine Workers of America and the Mine Safety and Health Administration expressing concern. MSHA's website is not currently being regularly maintained, so it shows the total for coal miner fatalities this year as 14, but the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette's Ken Ward Jr. reports the three October deaths have raised the number to 17.

UWM International President Cecil E. Roberts issued a statement Oct. 8 about the latest incidents:

"The hearts and prayers of every UMWA member are with the families of the three miners who have been killed on the job in the last week. Though none of them were members of our union, we stand ready to assist their families in any way we can. One of those killed was a supervisor who was a former UMWA member working at the McElroy mine outside Moundsville, W. Va., where we represent the hourly workers. We are participating in the investigation into his death at that mine.

"The circumstances surrounding each of these fatalities are different, and I do not want to draw immediate conclusions as to their causes based on incomplete evidence at this time. But it is extremely troubling that within a week after the federal government shutdown caused the normal system of mine safety inspection and enforcement to come to a halt, three miners are dead," Roberts continued. "The government's watchdog isn't watching. The shutdown means that there are fewer mine inspectors on the job. Those who are working are either keeping an eye on operators and mines with a history of mine safety and health problems, or responding to special situations. But no regular inspections are taking place, even though they are required by law.

"Safety violations that would normally be caught and corrected as a result of those inspections are being missed. Even the smallest violations, when allowed to accumulate, can lead to dangerous conditions very quickly in a coal mine. I urge all miners, union members or not, to be especially careful at work. Check on your buddy. Watch each other's back. Take extra precautions when operating machinery. And finally, call your members of Congress and Senators and tell them while they’re squabbling, miners are dying."

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Green Quadrant EHS Software 2021

    Reserve your copy of the new report by independent analyst firm, Verdantix, to get a detailed, fact-based comparison of the 22 most prominent EHS software vendors in the industry.

  • Best Practices to Navigate ISO 45001

    Learn helpful tips and tricks to navigate your transition to ISO 45001 certification and ensure an effective health and safety management system.

  • Improve Your Safety Culture

    Learn the 3 fundamental areas to focus on to achieve safety culture excellence and what you can do to boost employee engagement in your EHS programs.

  • Chemical Safety: 5 Questions Answered by Experts

    Get answers to 5 of the most frequently asked questions about how to effectively mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your chemical data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management technology program.

  • How Has COVID-19 Changed Safety Culture?

    The COVID-19 pandemic has provided unique opportunities for health and safety professionals to rethink how they manage risk and develop stronger safety cultures. Read this eBook to learn actionable steps you can implement today to improve your programs.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January February 2021

    January February 2021

    Featuring:

    • TRAINING: SOFTWARE
      Tips for Choosing the Best Training Software
    • COMBUSTIBLE DUST
      Assessing the Dangers of Dust Explosions
    • HAND PROTECTION
      Pushing the Boundaries of Hand Protection
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      Getting a Grip on Slip Resistance
    View This Issue