THE MAGAZINE

Mine Safety

Reacting to the disaster at the Sago Mines in West Virginia, lawmakers passed a bill (S. 2803) designed to improve mine safety and protect the health of mine workers. It became P.L. 109-236. The law requires that mine operators adopt and maintain an accident response plan for when miners are trapped. Under the law, the plan must include redundant local communications systems, emergency air supplies, escapeways, emergency training, and wireless communications systems to allow contact between trapped miners and officials on the surface. To encourage new technology, the bill provides grants for those developing new mine safety equipment. The law also establishes an interagency working group to share technology, research, and developments in mine safety and emergency response.

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