New federal rule seeks to reduce machine-related coal deaths

AP News
Posted: Jan 13, 2015 4:05 PM

PRINCETON, Ind. (AP) — Federal mine safety officials have issued a new rule aimed at reducing crushing and pinning deaths caused by mining machinery.

The rule requires coal-digging machines called continuous miners to be fitted with a sensor system that can shut off the digger if a miner gets too close.

U.S. Assistant Labor Secretary Joe Main visited a mine in southern Indiana on Tuesday to see a demonstration of the safety technology, which is called a proximity detector. The detectors are already in use at the Alliance Resource Partners Gibson North mine that Main visited.

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The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration says 35 miners have been crushed or pinned to death by the mining machines since 1984. The new rule takes effect March 16.