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Mine Safety Advocate Tony Oppegard '80 in AP and The Charleston Gazette

Wednesday, October 31, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Max Rodriguez
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Mine safety advocate Tony Oppegard '80 was quoted in the Associated Press on Tom Smith, a former coal industry executive, running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. Smith says his workers missed less days of work due to on-the-job injuries than workers at other mines, while Oppegard, a Lexington, KY, lawyer who worked for MSHA as an adviser and accident investigator, said he is hesitant to use the statistic because there are mining companies that do not report accidents, or they minimize days lost by bringing an injured worker back to sit at a desk.

Read more in the Associated Press, "Clashing views on Pa. Senate hopeful's mining past"

Tony Oppegard was also quoted in The Charleston Gazette on Obama's mine safety efforts after the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in 2010. Oppegard says the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has continued an effort of "impact inspections" that send multiple inspectors on surprise visits to problem mines. Agency officials say that since September 2010, the rate of serious violations is down 21 percent and the injury rate down 13 percent at mines targeted by these inspections.

"I've always felt that should be a regular part of MSHA's enforcement program," Oppegard said. "It's clearly showing dividends." Oppegard said he's also pleased that MSHA has been more aggressive in seeking reinstatement for miners who allege they were fired for complaining about safety problems.

Read more in The Charleston Gazette, "Mine safety absent from presidential campaign's coal debate"


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