Mine safety act turns 35

March 13, 2013

Arlington, VA – March 9 marked 35 years since the passage of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act, which created the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

In a March 9 editorial in the Charleston Gazette, MSHA administrator Joseph A. Main credited the law with saving lives, noting that mining fatalities have decreased to 35 in 2012 from 273 in 1977.

The legislation, signed by President Jimmy Carter, amended the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 to include all types of mines and moved enforcement from the Department of the Interior to the Department of Labor. The law also established mandatory federal inspections of all mines, required mine operators to provide safety training and authorized MSHA to issue citations to mines demonstrating a “pattern of violations.” ​​​​​​​​​