“Suffocating While Alive” The Return of Black Lung

Mine worker dust black lung

Howard Berkes has published a major investigative piece for NPR/Frontline on the resurgence of black lung among coal miners. Read it or better yet, listen to it. Berkes puts most of the blame on failures of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, but is who is really at fault, the regulatory agency or the mine owners? Continue Reading

Today in Mining History: December 19, 1984 and 1907

Darr Mine Fire: Dec. 19, 1907 At 11:30 a.m., a massive explosion rocked the Darr Mine of the Pittsburgh Coal Co. near the village of Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania, at the point at which the creek enters the Youghiogheny River above Smithton. Just one miner near the surface was able to escape the holocaust that took 239 lives.   It…

Death on the Job: 2017 Fatality Numbers Released


The Bureau of Labor Statistics today released its 2017 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries — and it contained good news and bad news.  The good news is that workplace fatalities fell slightly, less than 1% last year from 5,190 fatal injuries reported in 2016 to 5,147 last year. The fatality rate also declined slightly from 3.6 to…

Weekly Toll: Workers Who Punched in, but Never Punched Out Last Week

toll osha

Florida Construction Worker Killed After Being Trapped Under Crane at Marina Bradenton, FL — Authorities say a construction worker was killed and another worker injured when a crane toppled at a marina on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Other construction workers attempted to free Chadwick Adam Brown, of Pinellas, Thursday when he became caught under the construction crane…

Mine Workers Sue MSHA Over Lifting Enforcement Action

mine safety

Things have been somewhat quiet lately in the world of mine safety and health. We wrote earlier about the troubling rise in black lung cases, but thankfully mining fatalities are down slightly this year after they spiked last year.  In 2018, we’ve seen 9 coal mining deaths and 16 worker deaths in meal/non-metal mines.  Last…

House Workforce Committee Goes Out With a Whimper, Not a Bang

Workforce Committee

The last hearing of the soon-to-be late, great Republican-controlled House Education and Workforce Committee of the 115th Congress was supposed to be held yesterday.    The subject: “Mandating a $15 Minimum Wage: Consequences for Workers and Small Businesses”. (Subtext: How a mandatory minimum wage will doom small businesses and starve their employees.) Unfortunately for Republicans…