Ohio is among the major producers of coal and other minerals in the United States, which means that a significant number of workers are employed in the mining industry. Miners are often at a higher risk for injuries than most other workers, owing to the harsh conditions they usually have to work in. Therefore, in order to address the issues specific to the mining industry, the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act was passed in 1977. This act clearly states the rights and responsibilities of a miner.
Per the FMSHA, employers in the mining industry must not discriminate against any miner, miner group or representative in the event they raise concerns against the working conditions. The FMSHA also allows the miner or the representative to report any and all violations of safety measures or of the provisions of the FMSHA to the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. In fact, the act also allows a miner or a representative to request the MSHA to conduct an inspection of the mine.
Additionally, the FMSHA entitles a miner to receive pay for certain time-barred periods if a mine is closed for inspection by the MSHA, or for any other reason. Any violation of this rule should be reported to the immediate supervisor and no miner or representative can be subjected to any sort of retaliation for filing a complaint regarding the mining safety standards. The act also states that a miner needs to be paid full wages for the time spent accompanying a safety inspector or for undergoing health and safety training.
The provisions of the FMSHA clearly indicate that the act was passed to prevent workplace accidents. Therefore, the act protects all miners or their representatives from prejudice for enforcing the safety regulations defined in the act. Finally, miners and their union or representatives have the right to contact and engage legal help in all cases of violations as well as any harassment arising out of it. The right legal assistance may go a long way to make sure that a mine is safe.