WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Warner (D-VA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Representative Matt Cartwright (D-PA) in reintroducing the bipartisan, bicameral COVID-19 Mine Worker Protection Act. The legislation 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 the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE). Brown first introduced the legislation in May 2020.

“Ohio miners have put their health at risk for years to power our country,” said Senator Brown. “And now they’re facing more danger, as working conditions put them at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. MSHA needs to issue an enforceable safety standard to protect these miners from infectious disease, and we need to ensure these workers have the personal protective equipment they need to prevent exposure.”

“Our miners risk their lives every day to power our nation and during the COVID-19 pandemic, that risk is even greater for our brave miners,” said Senator Manchin. “The bipartisan, bicameral COVID-19 Mine Worker Protection Act will instruct DOL to create safeguards and provide PPE to ensure our miners are protected from exposure to COVID-19 in the mines. I will continue to work with my bipartisan colleagues, DOL and the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) to pass this commonsense legislation to help our miners stay safe during the pandemic as they continue to provide Americans with the power we need every day.”

“For centuries, our miners have worked tirelessly to power America and keep the lights on. It is vital that we take the necessary steps to provide them safety and job security as we continue to battle COVID-19,” said Senator Capito.

The COVID-19 Mine Worker Protection Act

Specifically, the COVID-19 Mine Worker Protection Act would direct the Secretary of Labor to issue an emergency temporary standard that requires mine operators 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; and
  • In coordination with CDC and NIOSH, track, analyze, and investigate mine-related COVID-19 infections data in order make recommendations and guidance to protect miners from the virus.

Additional information on the COVID-19 Mine Worker Protection Act can be found here.

Text of Brown’s bill can be read here.