Mine Safety Violations Are Freebies

coal mine fatalities

The Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette reported this weekend that federal coal mine inspectors often found violations of safety laws but failed to issue fines for the transgressions. The Gazette's Ken Ward Jr. found that the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration failed to set fines for about 4,000 violations of federal mine safety laws.

In 1969, Congress required monetary penalties for all violations cited by federal mine inspectors. In reviewing computer records, however, the federal agency has found violations, but no fines, back to 1996.

Ward found that one violation that did not carry a fine involved the death of a Kentucky miner in 2005. An underground miner died after his injuries were not property treated. The federal agency cited the mine owner for a violation of federal safety regulations for not giving proper first aid training to its employees.