New Rules Finalized For Coal Mine Exams

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The Mine Safety and Health Administration is issuing a final set of rules for underground coal mine examinations that aim to hold operators more accountable for finding and fixing hazards.

MSHA proposed the rules in December 2010 and held five public hearings last summer.

They'll be published in the Federal Register on Friday, the day after the second anniversary of West Virginia's Upper Big Branch mine disaster. Twenty-nine men were killed at the former Massey Energy mine.

The rules require operators to fix nine hazardous conditions and violations of health and safety standards that MSHA says pose the greatest risk to miners.

They relate to things that were problems at Upper Big Branch, including ventilation, methane, roof control and accumulation of combustible materials.

MSHA says inspectors keep seeing such violations.