COAL MINE SAFETY House Passes Bill With Tougher Measures And Punishments For Coal Scofflaws
Reported by: Kennie Bass
Videographer: John Tincher
Web Producer: Kennie Bass
Reported: Feb. 28, 2012 6:59 PM EST
EYEWITNESS ONLINE WEBCAST VIDEO C L I C K T O P L A Y
, Kanawha County
, West Virginia
A measure targeting methane gas and coal dust levels...which fueled the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion...unanimously passed the House of Delegates.
But the bill also requires mine management to sign off on the log books of mine foremen and fire bosses. It's designed to make upper managers responsible if safety measures are ignored or circumvented...something critics of Massey Energy are still hoping for in the aftermath of UBB.
Speaker Rick Thompson left the rostrum for the first time in his six-year tenure leading the House to support the measure. His father died in a mining accident in 1952...six months before he was born.
Additionally, the proposal makes it a felony to cause a death by violating a safety standard. If it becomes law, it would be a crime to announce when inspectors enter a mine. And, the families of victims would be allowed to observe interviews during post-disaster investigations.
However, one provision in the bill is unrelated to UBB. It mandates random drug testing at every mining operation in the state.
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