Federal mine safety regulators are warning that winter weather can be deadly in the coal industry.
The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration wants miners and mine operators to be alert for hazards that cold weather typically bring to mines.
The agency says low humidity and low barometric pressures, combined with seasonal drying of many areas in underground coal mines, have been major factors in past mine explosions. The cold weather also brings potential hazards such as limited visibility, icy roads, and the freezing and thawing of highwalls at surface mines.
The Charleston Gazette reports that MSHA is encouraging miners and mine operators to take actions that can prevent serious accidents. Those measures include treating icy surfaces and making sure there's adequate ventilation in underground coal mines.