U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) issued the following statement today on the Mine Safety and Health Administration's new rule that focuses on improving mine safety.
"A strong mining industry begins with a strong commitment to our miners," Senator Manchin said. "Our coal miners are some of the hardest working people in America, and they are proud to do the heavy lifting that keeps this country strong. In our state, we're absolutely and totally committed to the safety of every worker -- and that means that every worker in our state should be able to get up in the morning and expect to come home safely to their loved ones at night. This new rule is another step forward in making sure that we protect our miners and the integrity of our coal industry."
As Governor, Senator Manchin implemented and oversaw large-scale safety reforms to mining operations in West Virginia that served as the model for the first federal laws in 29 years to make improvements to mine safety.
In the wake of the Sago and Aracoma mine disasters, then-Governor Manchin wrote and signed into law S.B. 247.
Among the provisions of the bill:
Increasing the number of emergency rescue chambers in mines to more than 300 locations in more than 180 mines;
Placing more than 40,000 new personal breathing devices (self-contained self rescuers) in underground mines.
In the immediate aftermath of the Upper Big Branch disaster, before investigative reports were submitted, then-Governor Manchin also created the Mine and Industry Safety Hot/Tip Line to allow miners to anonymously report unsafe workplace conditions while protecting their job security.
Senator Manchin cosponsored the Robert C. Byrd Mine and Workplace Safety and Health Act of 2011 when he joined the U.S. Senate.