US mine regulators to conduct safety talks with miners following 20 fatalities since October

ARLINGTON, Va. – Federal regulators are stepping up safety discussions with the nation’s mines following 20 U.S. mining fatalities since October.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration said in a news release Wednesday that it will conduct visits to coal, metal and nonmetal mines to increase awareness of recent fatalities and encourage operators and miners to remain vigilant for unsafe conditions.

The agency said discussion topics will include task training, mine examinations, the causes of fatal mine accidents and the best practices to avoid accidents.

The release said inspectors will exercise their enforcement authority to punish safety violations.

MSHA already has been conducting mine inspections nationwide since 2010, when the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in West Virginia killed 29 coal miners.