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Mine Safety Advocate Tony Oppegard '80 Quoted in The Harlan Daily Enterprise

Monday, April 8, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Max Rodriguez
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Mine safety advocate Tony Oppegard '80 helped his client Charles Scott Howard, a coal miner at Cumberland River Coal Company (CRCC) Band Mill No. 2 Mine, get his job back after Howard was fired for insisting on following proper safety procedures.

"Scott’s job was to monitor those seals and do a pre-shift examination of them to make sure they were safe,” said Lexington Attorney Tony Oppegard, counsel for Howard who has been representing Appalachian miners against coal companies for more than 20 years. "When Scott saw these seals were leaking water, which he complained about regularly, and when nothing was done — in his mind to repair the problem — he took a video camera underground and took video of various seals with water spewing from them.”

Victorious in the end, Oppegard said Howard is a "utterly unique American coal miner. There is none other like him in the United States, who is a safety activist and insists on safe working conditions underground. He doesn’t get the support of a lot of other miners, some because of fear of losing their jobs. In a lot of ways he’s been a lone wolf out there insisting on safe work places and the company just doesn’t like it. He did prevail in the end. It takes a lot of courage to stand up in a nonunion company and insist on safety, but that’s what he’s done throughout the years.”

Read the full article in The Harlan Daily Enterprise, "US Court of Appeals upholds decision"

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