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Safety Regulator Failed Coal Miners

Dec. 18, 2018

Safety Regulator Failed Coal Miners

Statement of Shanna Devine, Worker Health and Safety Advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

Note: For decades, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) failed to identify and respond to monitoring tests in coal mines showing that miners were exposed to dangerous levels of silica dust, according to an investigation by NPR and PBS Frontline. Now there is an epidemic of advanced black lung disease among Appalachian miners, caused by excessive exposure to silica and coal mine dust.

The government failed its mission to protect miners when it sat on warnings that workers were exposed to excessive amounts of toxic mine dust. Today coal miners across Appalachia are paying with their lives for MSHA’s inaction. The agency must immediately limit miners’ exposure to mine dust, especially silica, a key contributor to advanced black lung disease. Miners and their families can’t afford further inaction.