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REGULATION AND LEGISLATION
MSHA Chief Commemorates 10th Anniversary of MINER Act
On June 15, the tenth anniversary of the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act, Assistant Secretary of Labor for MSHA Joseph A. Main released a statement crediting the Act for significantly improving safety at U.S. coal mines. The Act requires operators of underground coal mines to develop and continuously update written emergency response plans, and requires industry to maintain better-trained mine rescue teams at underground coal mines. 
The mine safety chief’s statement also highlights some of MSHA’s more recent improvements to mine safety and health, including developing advanced mine rescue communications and tracking systems to streamline communications between the surface command center and mine rescue teams; upgrading the agency’s mine emergency mobile command centers and response equipment; and establishing a new Mine Emergency Operations facility in Kentucky to serve the Midwest.
“Since the MINER Act’s passage 10 years ago, the mining industry has seen profound changes,” Main said. “In fact, 2015 marked the safest year in mining history with the fewest number of mining deaths and the lowest fatality and injury rates ever recorded. Our work, however, continues. We remain focused on doing whatever we must to return miners to their loved ones—safe and healthy—after every shift.”
The MINER Act was enacted in 2006 in response to three mining tragedies in Sago, W.Va., Aracoma, W.Va., and Darby, Ky., that claimed a total of 19 miners’ lives that year. At the time of its passage, the Act, which was crafted by a bipartisan group in Congress, represented the first revisions to federal mine safety laws since 1977.
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