The U.S. Department of Labor has approved new rules it says will improve safety at the nation's most dangerous coal mines by revising the way operators are designated pattern violators.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said they improve the Mine Safety and Health Administration's ability to hold mine operators accountable for disregarding life saving safety measures. MSHA chief Joe Main says they're long overdue and could prevent 1,800 injuries over ten years.
The changes were proposed after the Upper Big Branch mine exploded in April 2010, killing 29 men.
A published report says state investigators found few problems at a Harlan County mine where federal investigators found enough violations during a surprise safety blitz in May to shut the mine down for nine days.