Making mines safe

This is an archived article that was published on in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The op-ed by Assistant Secretary for the Mine Safety and Health Administration Joseph Main ("A mine safety law that worked," Opinion, Mar. 13) gives justifiable credit to the importance of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 in reducing mining fatalities and accidents.

Contrary to Main's claim, though, the act and MSHA are not solely responsible for the decline in fatalities and accidents. Over the act's 35 years, U.S. mining has become far more technologically advanced, requiring the collective efforts of mine operators, miners and government regulators to improve mine safety.

Safety procedures that go beyond baseline requirements of the law are now viewed by the best-performing operators as essential to driving continuous improvements. That is why the National Mining Association has endorsed CORESafety, which provides large and small operators with a comprehensive systems approach to improve safety performance that goes beyond U.S. mine safety laws and regulations to prevent accidents.

As U.S. mining moves toward our goal of eliminating fatalities and reducing injuries by 50 percent within five years, the cooperation between mine operators and MSHA is more important than ever.

Bruce Watzman Senior vice president, regulatory affairs National Mining Association

Washington, D.C.