The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety & Training is responsible for the supervision of the execution and enforcement of the provisions of the state’s mining laws and rules. Prime consideration is given to the protection of the safety and health of persons employed within or at the mines of the state. In addition, the agency protects and preserves mining property and property used in connection with mining activities.
The agency pursues this mandate by impartially executing and enforcing the state’s mining laws and administrative rules in a co-operative spirit through a comprehensive approach that includes not only inspection, enforcement, and investigative activities, but also, and perhaps more importantly, by aggressively conducting timely and functional training activities focused on all segments of the mining industry.
These duties include regular inspections of all mining related sites and the certification/training of mine employees. All serious mining accidents are investigated and statistics are maintained with regard to health and safety related concerns. Currently the office has 140 employees.
The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training is one of the oldest WV state agencies, tracing its roots to February 22, 1883 when the first West Virginia mine safety act was passed by the legislature. The first code section called for the appointment of a mine inspector to make certain the mines in the state were “properly drained and ventilated”. Not until 1887 would any major revisions of the mining laws occur. In the decades since, many additional mining laws and regulations have been enacted as the industry has evolved. Our agency has gone through an evolution as well.
Prior to 1905, the state was divided into several inspection districts with a Chief Mine Inspector as head of the agency. From 1905 to 1985 our agency was known as the West Virginia Department of Mines, and the number of inspection districts grew from five to more than 50. In 1985 the Department of Mines merged with several other agencies to form the West Virginia Department (later Division) of Energy. In 1991 our agency became the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training.
Currently, our agency consists of approximately 130 employees assigned to four regional offices and the Charleston Headquarters. We employ Inspectors, Safety Instructors, and Administrative support personnel in each regional office. Our inspectors today are responsible for inspecting over 616 mines, quarries and coal handling facilities as well as approximately 1,734 independent contracting companies. Our inspection staff conducts regular inspections and investigates all serious mining accidents as outlined in our mission statement. Our safety instructors provide industry training, review safety programs for all facilities, and conduct certification examinations. We also maintain highly trained and well equipped Mine Rescue Teams. In addition to these activities, our agency issues permits and approvals, maintains industry statistics, and develops and publishes industry training materials.
Coal Mine Safety Board of Appeals
Coal Mine Safety Board of Appeals is responsible for hearing appeals of notices of violations and making determinations on questions of discrimination against miners and of suspension and revocation of state-issued certifications.
Chairman: Clinton Smith
Members: Ted Hapney and Terry Hudson
Contact: Amanda Lambert, Secretary
Address: #7 Players Club Drive – Suite 2, Charleston WV 25311-1626
Telephone: (304) 720-1122
Department of Commerce
Board of Coal Mine Health & Safety and Technical Review Committee
Address: 106 Dee Drive, Charleston WV 25311
Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety
Members: Chris Hamilton, Teddy Hapney, Chris Prater, Brian Keaton, Gary Trout, and Terry Osborne
Technical Review Committee
Members: Carl Egnor, Chris Hamilton