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United Mine Workers of America, mine safety advocates blast lingering lack of enforceable COVID-19 prevention standard

By Mike Tony, Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Friday marks 423 days since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

But federal coal mine safety regulators still haven’t decided whether to issue an enforceable standard requiring mine operators to comply with coronavirus prevention guidance that it took them a year into the pandemic to issue.

Mine Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman Christine Feroli told the Gazette-Mail on Thursday that it is still considering whether to issue an emergency temporary standard but has not yet made a determination, leaving guidance that it released in March voluntary and miners working in tight quarters vulnerable to COVID-19 transmission.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration guidance released in March suggested mine operators conduct hazard assessments of mine sites, identify measures that limit COVID-19 transmission, ensure that miners who are infected or potentially infected are separated and sent home from the mine, and protect miners who raise COVID-19-related concerns from retaliation.

But those are only recommendations, not standards or regulations, prompting the United Mine Workers of America to persist in its condemnation of the MSHA for not doing more to protect miners…

To read more: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/energy_and_environment/umw-mine-safety-advocates-blast-lingering-lack-of-enforceable-covid-19-prevention-standard/article_2f56df3e-d319-5818-9afd-8fc1baf533f1.html

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