In 2017, coal mine fatalities surged, reversing a years-long downward trend culminating in record low deaths in 2016. The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration reported in January that 15 coal miners lost their lives in 2017, nearly double the nine lives lost the previous year.
In December 2017, MSHA also announced that it would revisit Obama-era regulations intended to protect miners from black lung disease, a fatal condition caused by the inhalation of coal dust. The agency said it would investigate whether the dust standards “could be improved or made more effective or less burdensome by accommodating advances in technology, innovative techniques, or less costly methods.”
— Elizabeth E. Payne