The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Letters to the Editor

September 8, 2013

Mining becomes safer

Mining becomes safer

Editor:

When most people think about coal mining, they think about dangerous work. Many of the perceptions come from the legacy of industry’s long history and are not based on the reality of modern mining.

Virtually unnoticed, mining in America is becoming increasingly safe. Technological advances, paired with a highly skilled workforce and effective mine safety regulations, have allowed the coal industry to meet the nation’s growing energy requirements, while providing safer workplaces.

In March we celebrated the 35th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration. MSHA’s mission is to administer the provisions of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 and to enforce compliance with safety and health standards.

MSHA’s impact on the coal industry has been impressive. In the past 35 years, coal production has increased 76 percent while fatal injuries have decreased by 93 percent. In April, MSHA released its preliminary data for 2012 that indicate the lowest fatality and injury rates in the history of U.S. mining. While this performance is laudable, we as an industry must still do better.

That’s why I am pleased to note that in 2012 the National Mining Association announced a new initiative called CORESafety, with goals to eliminate fatalities and reduce injuries by 50 percent in five years. This initiative promotes a safety culture that is pro-active, and has been adopted by Sunrise Coal.

Accepting ownership for ensuring that our miners benefit from best in class training, technology and a true culture of safety combined with effective enforcement will make our mines safer and more efficient than ever before.

Phil Gonet

President

Illinois Coal Association

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