Ashton Marra Published

Bill Advances Closing Loopholes in Coal Miner Drug Testing


In the Energy, Industry and Mining Committee Tuesday, Senators took up a bill meant to close loopholes in the drug testing system for mine workers in safety positions.

There is already a notification system in place for any worker who fails, refuses to submit to or attempts to falsify a drug test.

Notification is sent to the state Office of Miner’s Health Safety and Training which keeps a record and may block that person’s next attempt to obtain a mining job.

“There’s a couple of loopholes in the way the existing statute,” committee counsel Dorian Burrell explained. “Basically, if they were to test positive and then resign or if they were never actually hired after testing positive, that could escape the notice.”

Burrell added that could mean people with drug or alcohol abuse problems could move from mine to mine without being detected.

The bill, supported by the Office of Miner’s Health Safety and Training, the industry and the unions, passed through the committee and now heads to Senate Judiciary.