MSHA demands more funding

The US Mine Safety and Health Administration wants an extra US$13 million next year to fund its mine health and safety activities.

Staff Reporter

The US Labor Department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration wants US$228.4 million from the US Congress to fund its 2001 mine health and safety activities - US$13 million more than this year.

“These funds will enable MSHA to continue its work in fighting health and safety hazards that endanger our nation’s miners,” Davitt McAteer, assistant secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, told Coal Week.

“In spite of recent improvements in the health area, miners remain at serious risk of developing occupational lung disease,” he said. “For instance, based on recent statistics, in the coming year it is likely that 300 or more present or former coal miners will be diagnosed with black lung or silicosis.

“Since 1994 MSHA has been carrying out a multifaceted effort to end black lung. To continue this work, the secretary has asked for an increase of US$2 million to conduct more frequent dust sampling, process the additional dust samples collected, check on the effectiveness of steps mine operators take to correct dust problems and improve MSHA’s ability to maintain and calibrate sampling and laboratory equipment.”