Friday, June 22, 2007

Lofaso on Coal Mine Safety

Wvu Anne Marie Lofaso (a new faculty member at West Virginia and former attorney at the NLRB's Supreme Court and Appellate Court Branches), has just posted on SSRN her new essay, Approaching Coal Mine Safety from a Comparative Law and Interdisciplinary Perspective.  Here's the abstract:

These remarks, given on March 21, 2007, as part of the West Virginia Law Review's Symposium: Thinking Outside of the Box: A Post-Sago Look at Coal Mine Safety, suggest a comparative and interdisciplinary approach to looking at workplace health and safety issues. The remarks in particular and the symposium in general use the Sago Disaster as a springboard for examining the various and complex questions related to the broader question - What role does or should the law play in protecting workers' health and safety. This, of course, leads to the obvious question - Does regulation work? An administrative law and comparative approach to the regulatory issue helps to identify best practices that may save lives. But more profound questions quickly surface. What do we citizens of a “just” society owe workers who daily risk their lives for our collective comfort? If the technology is available to save workers' lives, why hasn't it been made available? The remarks raise questions in hope that next year's symposium will commence a dialogue for presenting different perspectives and possible solutions.

An interesting look at some very important workplace issues--definitely worth reading.


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Why don't the mining companies lay phone lines inside conduit as they mine coal? They could establish extensions every 1000 feet or whatever.
1) Regarding safety, a trapped miner could simply pick up the receiver and communicate the condition and obviously the location. In fact, a disabled miner would only have to activate the extension and the mining company could tell which extension was activated and know exactly where the trapped miner(s) were located.
2) Efficiency of day-to-day operation would also be improved. If some equipment needs some parts or whatever, all they would have to do is ask to have parts some XYZ parts sent down.
Also, at reasonable spacing, Oxygen tanks and other emergency essentials could be positioned.
Please reply as to why hard-wired phone lines inside protective conduit are not utilized?

Posted by: Harlan Palm | Aug 13, 2007 1:28:17 PM

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