FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today signed a mine safety bill that provides for an additional annual inspection of underground coal mines and requires that groups of miners be equipped with multi-gas detectors.
House Bill 207, sponsored by Rep. Brent Yonts (D-Greenville), also authorizes the state Office of Mine Safety and Licensing (OMSL) to hire up to 15 additional mine safety analysts.
“House Bill 207 complements the sweeping mine safety legislation passed last year and was the result of a bipartisan effort,” said Governor Fletcher. “I want to commend not only the General Assembly for its work but also the efforts of the families of mine accident victims who were instrumental in the passage of the bill.”
“House Bill 207 makes great strides in ensuring safety in the coal mines of Kentucky. This legislation will be a continuing model for mine safety for the federal government,” said Rep. Yonts. “The bill’s success would not have been possible without the support of the Fletcher Administration, Commissioner Susan Bush, Secretary Teresa Hill, labor, House leadership and with the cooperation of the coal industry. I appreciate the support of Sen. Tom Jenson and the Senate in passing this bill.”
OMSL will appoint a “family liaison” to communicate with miners’ families during an accident investigation.
Under the new legislation OMSL will perform four annual inspections of underground mines and two electrical inspections.
Multi-gas detectors will be required for groups of two or more miners working in close proximity as well as for miners who are working alone.
The amended HB 207 passed the Senate 36-0 on March 12 and the House 96-0 the same day.