Federal judge rejects union lawsuit to toughen mine safety standards

[JURIST] A lawsuit filed by the United Mine Workers of America [union website], seeking to compel the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) [official website] to perform periodic checks of "self-contained self-rescuers" oxygen units and lead mandatory emergency training for all mine workers, was dismissed Wednesday. The claim was filed in June in response to Congressional changes to mine safety rules following the Sago Mine disaster. US District Judge John D. Bates [official profile] dismissed the case [opinion, PDF] because federal law allows the MSHA discretion in setting safety standards. Bates wrote that "the loss of lives, and the risks miners presently face, weigh heavily in public discourse and are taken seriously by this court. But the tragedy of those events, and the need for greater protection described by plaintiff, cannot substitute for the requirements of the law." AP has more.

In related news, Randal McCloy [Wikipedia profile], the sole survivor of the Sago Mine disaster [ABC News backgrounder], and the families of two other victims, filed suit against the mine operator and five other companies Wednesday, alleging their negligence led to the tragedy. The suit claims International Coal Group (ICG) [corporate website] and Wolf Run Mining created unsafe working conditions for employees and that several companies supplied safety equipment that failed to protect the workers. The suit also blames ICG for recklessly failing to control the flow of information following the accident. AP has more.



 

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