By Benjamin Goad - 01/22/13 05:57 PM EST
The rule, unveiled last week by the agency’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), comes in response to the 2010 explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine, which killed 29 men. The blast was the worst mining disaster in 40 years.
In the explosion’s aftermath, MSHA issued a scathing report finding Massey systematically violated health and safety rules that, if followed, could have prevented the deaths.
Under the new regulations, MSHA can more easily crack down on mine operators with patterns of violating health and safety violations.
“It is gratifying to have MSHA tighten its reigns [sic] on mine operators and hold them accountable,” NCL executive director Sally Greenberg said in a written statement. “We hope this new rule gives MSHA the authority it needs to regulate rogue operators, better protect miners, and prevent another mine disaster from occurring,”
The rule will take effect March 25.