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September 17, 2012
MSHA takes steps to ease impact of discrimination complaints
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The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) says stepped up efforts to educate miners about their rights, prompt investigate complaints, and take legal action have increased the number of miners reinstated to their jobs after filing discrimination complaints.

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The number of requests for temporary reinstatements jumped from 22 to 71 between fiscal years 2007 to 2009 and 2010 to 2012. The agency filed nearly twice as many complaints alleging mine safety discrimiation during the past 2 years as it had in the prior period.

 “All miners have the right to a safe workplace and the right to identify hazardous conditions and refuse unsafe work without fear of discrimination or retaliation,” said MSHA Administrator Joseph A. Main. “Since I arrived at MSHA nearly 3 years ago, one of my top goals has been to educate miners about those rights and protections and to rigorously enforce them.”

According to OSHA, discrimination and retaliation issues came to light during congressional hearings held in the wake of the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster. Last year, MSHA released Web-based tools to help miners better understand their rights and responsibilities.

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