Other recommendations for improving safety that came out of the hearing were:
| Requiring each mine to have a certified mine safety team made up of miners.
| Requiring federal inspectors to take miners with them on safety inspections.
| Requiring inspectors to inspect mines on evenings and weekends, not just during day shifts.
| Taking enforcement action against operators, mine guards or other employees who try to subvert inspections by warning mine owners that inspectors are at the mine.
"Coal miners are critical to our nation's economy and Americans depend on them far more than they realize or appreciate," Rockefeller wrote.
"West Virginia coal miners should be able to go to work and dig coal confident that they are working in the safest conditions possible. Their families should not have to worry about losing their loved ones simply because the go into the mines to work and provide for their families."
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.