The National Consumers League, the nation’s oldest consumer organization, has sent a letter today to Joseph A. Main, Assistant Secretary of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), calling on the federal mine safety agency to improve mine safety in order to protect the lives of workers and offering the League’s support in doing so.
“We need beefed-up safety regulations, higher fines for violators, and expedited processes for forcing mines with safety violations to address the hazards,” wrote the League’s Executive Director Sally Greenberg in the letter to Main. “We stand ready to support the efforts of the Mine Safety and Health Administration in providing these added protections.”
NCL’s letter cites concerns about “the litany of safety violations and fines incurred by the Performance Coal Company’s Upper Big Branch mine, which is the site of the latest tragic mining accident. Upper Big Branch has been written up 50 times in the last month for safety violations. At least 25 workers have now died and four mine workers are unaccounted for as a result of this latest accident.”
NCL’s letter goes on to say, “There are many ways to mitigate the hazards miners face and good companies with strong unions can help to ensure the safest possible environment for mine workers. We note that the Upper Big Branch Mine’s owners fought unionization and the company is a nonunion workplace. The men killed at Upper Big Branch mine did not have to die. We believe their untimely deaths are a result of a series of decisions that compromised their safety.”