WASHINGTON (WFXR) — Several U.S. senators came together to introduce the bipartisan, bicameral COVID-19 Mine Worker Protection Act that would require the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to issue an emergency temporary standard requiring mine operators to establish a plan to tackle occupational COVID-19 exposure and provide miners with necessary PPE.

Those lawmakers include U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), as well as Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA).

“COVID-19 is a very real threat for Virginia’s coal miners who are often unable to practice social distancing as they work in confined spaces for extended periods of time. I’m proud to introduce this legislation to ensure that miners in Southwest Virginia and throughout the country have the resources they need to properly protect themselves and limit their exposure to this dangerous and increasingly contagious virus.”

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)

Specifically, the COVID-19 Mine Worker Protection Act would direct the Secretary of Labor to issue an emergency temporary standard requiring miners to:

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plan to protect miners from COVID-19 exposure at the mines;
  • Provide personal protective equipment to miners;
  • Incorporate guidelines from the CDC, NIOSH, and relevant scientific research;
  • In coordination with CDC, NIOSH, track, analyze, and investigate mine-related COVID-19 infections data in order to make recommendations and guidance to protect miners from the virus.

A copy of the bill can be found below.