1969 – Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act passed

The Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 (Public Law 91-173), generally referred to as the Coal Act, was the most comprehensive and stringent Federal legislation governing the mining industry to date.

Key components of the Coal Act include:

  • Four annual inspections required at all underground coal mines
  • Two annual inspections required at all surface coal mine
  • Mandatory fines for all violations
  • Criminal penalties for knowing and willful violations
  • Individual State enforcement plans discontinued
  • Safety standards for all coal mines strengthened and health standards adopted
  • Specific procedures created for developing improved mandatory safety and health standards
  • Training grant program instituted
  • Miners given the right to request a Federal inspection
  • Miners disabled by black lung disease provided benefits

To learn more about the history and contents of the 1969 Coal Act, please see House Report No. 91-563 and Conference Report No. 91-761.