In all the reporting of violence and crime that goes on in the US, there's rarely anything about the number of injuries and deaths of workers on the job. A big mine cave -in like the one in Sago, West Virginia is usually what it takes to bring this issue to the nation's attention. But even when the disasters are being publicized, the really pertinent news isn't always up front. For example, read the LAST paragraph in today's NYT article on the cave in:
According to the [mine safety and heath administration] agency, the Sago mine received 208 citations in 2005, up from 68 in 2004. Sixteen of those were for violations that the mine operators knew about but did not repair before inspectors caught them, the agency said. The company said those numbers were not out of the ordinary.
The Detroit Free Press includes more detailed information on the violations:
Federal inspectors cited the mine for 46 alleged violations of federal mine health and safety rules during an 11-week review that ended Dec. 22, according to records.
The more serious alleged violations, resulting in proposed penalties of at least $250 each, involved steps for safeguarding against roof falls and the mine's plan to control methane and breathable dust. The mine received 208 citations from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration during 2005, up from 68 in 2004.
Also, the state's Office of Miners' Health Safety and Training issued 144 notices of violation against the mine in 2005, up from 74 in 2004.
The blog, "Confined Space" does a regular update on workplace deaths called "the weekly toll," and is keeping up to date on the trapped miners.
The CPUSA's paper has an article about Bush appointee to msha secretary David G. Dye's predecessor (David Lauriksi) headlined, "Bush policies threaten miners' health" from just over a year ago.
I'll try to find out more about the policies there later, but at the moment, I've gotta go.