The Mine Substance Abuse Task Force, which presented its final report this week, was backed by Governor Ernie Fletcher and his cabinet would work together to “determine the feasibility of enacting legislation to address recommendations in the report”
“Mining is a dangerous occupation and miners deserve the right to work in as safe an environment as possible,” he said.
Amongst the task force’s recommendations was employee assistance programs (EAP), education and awareness training, incentive programs through the employer, testing to determine substance abuse, state certification programs and contract employees at mines.
In addition, the group asked that pre-employment drug testing be required as well as random checks after hire, as well as mandatory testing following an accident – for everyone involved, not only the direct participant or victim.
The state’s regulators reacted positively to the group’s report. “The report contains excellent recommendations and we are evaluating these ideas to determine what legislative and regulatory changes need to be made to implement these proposals,” Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet secretary LaJuana Wilcher said.
The 15-member task force, according to the state’s web site, was formed following a summit on the topic in late 2004; some members include Tom Asbury (Black Mountain Resources), Dave Blankenship (TECO Coal), Helen Churilla (Consol Energy), Greg Damron (Cheyenne Elkhorn Coal), and Doug Conaway (West Virginia Office of Miners Health, Safety and Training).