Highlights of the mine safety bill signed into law Jan. 26 by Gov. Joe Manchin:

* Create a state mine and industrial accident emergency operations center with a 24-hour hotline.

* Mine operators must call the center or local emergency services office within 15 minutes of any accident. Delays would bring a $100,000 fine.

* Mines must have caches of self-contained self-rescue devices, and miners would be guided to the stockpiles in emergencies by battery-powered strobe lights, reflective signs and lifeline cords. These caches and lights must be inspected weekly.

* Operators must provide a "wireless emergency communication device" to each person underground. And it must be able to receive emergency communications from the surface at any location in the mine. Operators must train miners annually on using the device.

* Each person underground must wear a state-approved, operator-issued "wireless tracking device." It must provide real-time monitoring of the physical location of its wearer.

* Operators must install the necessary gear underground for both systems.

* Operators can't use information obtained from non-emergency monitoring of the devices to fire or discriminate against any miner.

* It is a felony to remove or tamper with the self-rescue or communication devices or lights. Convictions would carry fines between $10,000 and $100,000 and up to 10 years in prison.

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