Wva Gov.Calls for mine safety stand down after Two More mine deaths today!
Gov. Joe Manchin on Wednesday called for the state's mines to halt operations for safety reviews after two miners died in accidents earlier in the day.
"I am calling on the industry to cease production activities immediately and go into a mine safety stand down," he said, according to a written statement.
"Starting with the current shift, and each new shift after that, the mine companies, supervisors, and the miners themselves are to engage in a thorough review of safety procedures before any work is to continue," he said.
Two miners died at two Boone County, West Virginia, mines Wednesday, including one man who was driving a bulldozer that struck a gas line and burst into flames, a federal spokesman said.
The bulldozer fatality occurred about 2:30 p.m. south of Charleston at the Elk Run's Black Castle strip mine in Drawdy, said Dirk Fillpot of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.
The second death was reported in the early afternoon at the No. 18 Long Branch Energy underground coal mine, Fillpot said. No further details were available.
"Our hearts and prayers, and the hearts and prayers of every West Virginian, go out to the families of the two men that were lost today," Manchin said.
With Wednesday's deaths, 16 miners have died in mining accidents in West Virginia in about a month.
"While the last month has been more trying for our state than anyone could have ever imagined, West Virginia remains committed to putting the safety of every one of our miners first and foremost above all else," the governor said.
A January 2 explosion at the Sago Mine killed 12 miners, leaving one survivor who is undergoing rehabilitation after spending almost two days underground surrounded by carbon monoxide fumes.
A fire erupted January 19 inside Aracoma Coal Co.'s Alma Mine No. 1, killing two miners who became separated from the rest of their crew during the escape effort.
The governor said the federal Mine Health and Safety Administration had agreed to his request for additional mine safety resources.
"Each mine in the state is currently scheduled to be inspected every three months," he said. "We will immediately begin the process of inspecting every mine in the state and their equipment, conditions, engineering plans, safety procedures and safe work practices."
He said his office was also filing emergency rules Wednesday night that he said "are the next step in implementing the mine safety legislation that was passed by the legislature last week."
The state legislation was aimed at improving the chances of survival for miners trapped underground. The measure, proposed by Manchin, would require miners to wear wireless devices so they can be found more quickly.
It also requires the state to establish a 24-hour emergency hot line for mine operators to call when an accident happens in an effort to speed up and better coordinate the emergency response.