Pubdate: Sun, 17 Jul 2005
Source: Messenger-Inquirer (KY)
Copyright: 2005 Messenger-Inquirer
Author:  Associated Press
Bookmark: (Drug Test)


LOUISVILLE -- The mining industry and states should decide whether 
they want to drug test miners, the nation's top mine safety regulator said.

David Dye, head of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, 
said last week that he is not urging Congress to pass a law allowing 
MSHA to test miners for drugs. Instead, the federal government will 
try to educate miners about the dangers of using drugs at work, he said.

"We're looking at using all our authority and resources that are 
appropriate to deal with the issue," Dye told the Louisville 
Courier-Journal. "A change of law at the federal level is always a 
long and arduous process."

Last year, former MSHA head Dave Lauriski said a federal testing law 
was one of several options being considered to help curb the growing 
problem of drug use at mines.

Two Kentucky miners who were killed in underground coal mine 
accidents in the past two years tested positive for drugs, according 
to coroner toxicology reports. It isn't clear whether drug impairment 
led to either accident.

Currently, some coal companies have voluntary drug-testing policies, 
and Kentucky has a 15-member task force of industry, government and 
labor representatives discussing whether the state should have a testing law.

The state task force is expected to make recommendations this year to 
LaJuana Wilcher, secretary of the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet.
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