Black Lung

Category archives for Black Lung

Coal mining industry insisted on new dust sampling technology, now they don’t want MSHA to use it

It’s too late for Ronald Martin of Dema, Kentucky. “I’m in last stage of black lung,” he wrote in shaky script, “please help the miners so they won’t suffer like I suffer. I can’t breathe but a little.” Mr. Martin sent his note to the Labor Department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to comment…

House Republican Appropriators don’t think coal miners need protection from black lung disease

Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) and his Republican members of the House Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Labor Department don’t think coal miner deserve better protection from black lung disease. In their FY 2012 appopriations bill they would prohibit the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) from using any funds to develop, promulgate, enforce or…

No matter what mining industry reps say, MSHA’s proposed rule to address black lung is easily achievable

Thanks to Ken Ward at Coal Tatto for alerting me to a hearing conducted last week in the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Overight and Government Spending, of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform called “EPA’s Appalachian Energy Permitorium: Job Killer or Job Creator?” The majoirity of the witnesses were at the ready…

Why US coal miners are still developing black lung disease

In Hawk’s Nest Redux, Ellen Smith reports that an apalling number of the 29 deceased Upper Big Branch coal miners had black lung disease. The autopsy evidence was reported at the end of one chapter of the investigation report prepared by an independent panel of investigators commissioned by the Governor of West Virginia.* Smith compared…

by Ellen Smith For those who don’t know the history of the Hawk’s Nest Tunnel, from 1930 to 1935, approximately 3,000 workers carved a 3 mile tunnel through the Gauley Mountain in West Virginia in order to divert the New River for an electrical station at a Union Carbide plant. Ventilation was limited at best.…

Anticipating Labor Dept’s regulatory agenda for new worker safety rules

It shouldn’t be long now before Labor Secretary Hilda Solis releases her semi-annual regulatory plan for new worker health and safety rules. This document is required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act and Executive Order 12866, and is supposed to be published every April and October. The Labor Secretary’s most recent regulatory agenda wasn’t issued until…

Safety blitz at WV Massey Energy mine, 20 instances of aggravated misconduct

The Labor Department’s Mine Safety and Health Adminstration (MSHA) issued a news release yesterday reporting on the results of an inspection at Inman Energy’s Randolph coal mine, a subsidiary of Massey Energy. MSHA chief Joe Main said: “the conduct and behavior exhibited when we caught the mine operator by surprise is nothing short of outrageous.…

Congressman blames US coal miners for having black lung disease

Freshman Congressman Larry D. Bucshon (R) of Evansville, Indiana is a cardiothoracic surgeon. His father was an underground coal miner and a member of the United Mine Workers Union for 37 years. Both his grandparents were coal miners. But, Republican-controlled Capitol Hill is now the Twilight Zone when I heard him say the following last…

Labor Dept reveals plan for worker health and safety regulations

By the end of 2011, the Labor Department’s worker safety agencies expect to issue six new rules to better protect workers from on-the-job hazards. In the Department’s regulatory plan issued yesterday, OSHA projects it will finalize four rules while MSHA expects to complete two new standards. As I’ve written before, these plans quickly become stale…

Looking at my crystal ball to predict regulatory initiatives for worker safety

It’s that time of year, when the Secretary of Labor is supposed to outline her rulemaking priorities for next 12 months. This would include new proposal to protect mine workers, like the 64 killed already this year, and the tens of thousands made ill by inadequate OSHA standards on exposure to chemicals. The Presidential Executive…