The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reported today that the number of habitual safety violators in the mining industry has fallen. MSHA credits the drop in violations to recent action the agency has taken to dissuade violators. The National Mining Association (NMA) claimed credit as well, stating that MSHA's reforms aren't the only factor that contributed to the recent drop.
According to ABC News, the government keeps a Pattern of Violations (POV) list with the names of mines that repeatedly violate federal safety regulations. If a mine commits a violation after being added the POV list, the government could close the mining location.
Before 2010, the list was empty. In response to a mining explosion in West Virginia that killed 29 workers, safety inspectors began to crack down on mines that ignored federal safety guidelines. In the same year, 51 mines were added to the list. Now, the POV list only contains 12 mines.
According to news sources, coal mines showed the biggest improvement. In 2010, 42 coal mines were on the list, compared to only six in 2014.
Four years ago, the government cited 12 "worst offender" mines for more than 2,000 serious health violations. This year, the number of violations decreased to 857. According to the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, a "cultural change" in the mining community is responsible for the decreased number of serious safety breaches.
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