West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Feb. 20 issued Executive Order 1-13 directing all operators, supervisors, miners and other employees of the state’s coal industry to engage in safety stand-down to honor the miners who were killed and thoroughly review applicable health and safety laws and regulations, communication protocols and any safety issues apparent in their operations.
According to the Executive Order, the decision to call for a mine safety stand-down was made in response to the sixth fatal mining accident in West Virginia since last November. Four of the fatalities occurred in the past 2 weeks.
“West Virginia’s coal mining industry can thrive only if mining operations are conducted as safely as possible and in accordance with the mandatory health and safety laws and regulations aimed at preventing accidents. I’m asking all coal companies and their employees to take this safety check seriously. We need to do everything we can to ensure all of our coal miners are safe,” Tomblin said.
Beginning Feb. 20 and continuing until completed, the director of the Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training and his authorized representatives will deploy to all coal mining operations in the state to advise and assist operators in conducting additional safety reviews aimed at preventing future injuries and accidents.
“We will immediately begin sending inspectors and supervisors into the field to assist in both our underground and surface mines to make sure all safety guidelines are being met,” said Eugene White, director of Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training.