The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

June 10, 2007

State now moving on mine shelters

West Virginia coal mines are set to begin installing underground refuge chambers in the coming months even though the federal government has yet to begin testing the shelters.

Plans are moving forward for full compliance with new mine safety laws requiring underground shelters in the Mountain State. None of the approved models has been used in coal mines before nor has any undergone practical environment testing using human test subjects. But engineers have signed off on the specifications and anticipated performance for each shelter.

The United Mine Workers of America supports moving forward, but the labor union’s top health and safety administrator said the group’s posture is based on information it has gotten from others.

“We’re going forward based on what everyone else has told us,” said Dennis O’Dell, administrator of the UMWA Department of Occupational Health and Safety. “Based on the information we were presented, we believe these will protect miners. If, in fact, there is a serious question about whether these actually will increase the health and safety of miners or possibly be dangerous, then they should stop and do additional testing.”

NIOSH Testing

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is finalizing its protocol for testing refuge chambers at its Lake Lynn underground coal mine research laboratory.

Once the testing can begin, NIOSH scientists expect it will take about one week per unit, although many West Virginia coal mines already have placed orders for refuge chambers because of deadlines established in new mine safety rules.

The draft research protocol has been circulated among scientists and stakeholders, such as the West Virginia Mine Safety Technology Task Force, the UMWA and the National Mining Association.

“We asked them to have their comments in by June 8 ... and early next week, we’ll work our way through the changes. We hope to have the final protocol done by the end of next week,” said Dr. Eric Bauer, senior mining engineer at NIOSH.

Text Only
West Virginia
  • Lawsuit filed over Dirty Girl Mud Run

    A lawsuit has been filed against the producers of a run that was canceled in Charleston in which participants were told they wouldn’t be issued refunds.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVa. man sues GM over wife's death

    A West Virginia man has filed a lawsuit against General Motors Corp., claiming a defective ignition switch in a Chevrolet Cobalt caused a 2006 accident that killed his pregnant wife.

    July 24, 2014

  • Feds commit to health studies on spilled chemical

    After largely dismissing the possibility of long-term health problems, federal officials will conduct more studies on chemicals that spilled into West Virginia’s largest drinking water supply in January.
    In the next two months, federal health officials are also heading back to West Virginia.

    July 24, 2014

  • Park Service assesses impact of W.Va. attractions

    Four National Park Service attractions in West Virginia drew a total of 1.5 million visitors last year.

    July 23, 2014

  • This weekend's 'Dirty Girl' race canceled

    Organizers of a Charleston running event that was canceled for this weekend says it won’t issue refunds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Reporter heard truck backfiring, not gunshot

    Similar sounds in different circumstances create different reactions. That is so for WVVA reporter Annie Moore, who last Monday told police someone fired a gun at her while she was shooting file footage in the area of a recent murder.

    July 19, 2014

  • Cornhole champions being decided in Charleston

    Cornhole, the strange-sounding game made popular in backyards and at football tailgate parties, is taking on a serious side this week.
    The American Cornhole Organization will crown its world champions as about 380 competitors from 17 states vie for $10,000 in prize money in singles and doubles events.

    July 19, 2014

  • Multi-state distracted driving enforcement planned

    Law enforcement agencies in six states plan participate in a weeklong campaign targeting distracted driving.

    July 18, 2014

  • Female guard accused of having sex with juvenile inmate

    A West Virginia Division of Corrections officer has been charged with having sexual contact with a female juvenile inmate at the Lincoln Detention Center in Wheeling.

    July 18, 2014

  • Two charged in 1999 disappearance of W.Va. women

    Two men have been indicted on murder charges stemming from the 1999 disappearance of a West Virginia woman and her daughter.
    A Lewis County grand jury charged both Charles Stephen Freeman, 51, of Archbold, Ohio, and Joseph Metz, 39, of Horner with two counts of first-degree murder on Wednesday in a sealed indictment, media outlets reported.

    July 18, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads