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PNS Daily Newscast - October 29, 2020 


Trump supporters left to battle frigid temperatures in Omaha; absentee ballots surge in Tennessee.


2020Talks - October 29, 2020 


The Supreme Court blocks North Carolina and Pennsylvania Republicans from requiring ballots to be delivered by Election Day. And a Texas court is requiring masks at polling places.

New MSHA Efforts Against Black Lung Face Miner And Company Behavior

December 9, 2009

CHARLESTON, W. Va. - After decreasing for decades, the rate of black lung disease among longtime coal miners has doubled in the last ten years. The incurable condition that affects those whose lungs have been scarred by coal dust has killed thousands. The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration says it hopes to end black lung through new kinds of dust monitors and reductions in breathable levels of coal dust.

Privately, however, miners say some coal companies - and miners themselves - ignore safety rules. Chuck Nelson, who retired after 30 years of mining, recalls supervisors at one mine telling him and his coworkers to dismantle the ventilation curtains put up to keep the coal dust out of their work area. And when the miners were required to wear dust monitors to record the air quality, he says, his supervisors found ways to falsify the readings.

"The section boss would come around and gather up the dust pumps and made sure they were sitting in fresh air the whole time the mine inspectors were outside."

Nelson notes the miners must share the blame, because some refuse to wear the uncomfortable respirators intended to protect them from the dust. In his career, he says, he saw only a handful of his fellow miners consistently wearing their masks.

"You're breathing kind-of hard, and it's strenuous labor; seems like you can't get enough air through those respirators. Probably no more than three or four people that I've worked with total in mines wore those things."

No one from Nelson's former employer or the West Virginia Coal Association returned calls requesting comment.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV