The United Mine Workers supports a proposed bill in Congress which calls on the Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration to put standards in place to protect the nation’s coal miners from the spread of Covid-19.
According to UMWA President Cecil Roberts most coal companies, like all American industries, have tried to navigate the difficulties of Covid 19 as best they could using the general guidance from the Centers of Disease Control. However, because coal mining is unique, Roberts and union officials believe it requires a unique set of standards. They’re calling on MSHA to set those standards in place. Up until now, Roberts said, MSHA has left those standards and any protections up to the company.
The Covid 19 Mine Worker Protection Act calls for the development of a comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plan to protect miners from Covid 19.
The measure subsequently would require mine operators to provide miners with personal protective equipment. Furthermore guidelines would be formulated by MSHA from NIOSH, CDC, and other scientific research on Covid 19. MSHA will also be required to track, analyze, and investigate mine related Covid 19 data to make decisions on further protecting miners working together underground.