Reprinted from The San Francisco Chronicle by Dylan Lovan on August 3, 2017.
Deaths in US coal mines this year have surged ahead of last year’s, and federal safety officials say workers who are new to a mine have been especially vulnerable to fatal accidents.
But the nation’s coal miner’s union says the mine safety agency isn’t taking the right approach to fixing the problem.
Ten coal miners have died on the job so far this year, compared to a record low of eight deaths last year.
The US Mine Safety and Health Administration is responding to the uptick in deaths with a summer initiative, sending officials to observe and train miners new to a particular mine on safer working habits. The push comes during a transition for the agency, amid signals from President Donald Trump that he intends to ease the industry’s regulatory burden.
The miner’s union, the United Mine Workers of America, says the agency initiative falls short. …