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Coal mining is a dirty business, and it’s certainly not considered to be one of the safer career options. Because of this, the Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) limits the concentration of coal dust that can be in the air in a mine, and requires continual monitoring and periodic reporting checkups of dust levels in an effort to prevent miners from contracting black lung disease. Failing to follow MSHA regulations, or a mine found to be too dusty, can result in the agency halting production and assessing fines.

The employees of one mine, Armstrong Coal Company, were apparently not satisfied with the company’s safety standards and so decided to take matters into their own hands by [allegedly] falsifying the coal dust samples for the purpose of showing the company to be in violation of safety standards and potentially halt production.

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