Workers who suffered from silicosis filed suit alleging that dust collection systems failed to protect them from silica dust released during operations, and that any warnings pertaining to silica dust were inadequate. The Supreme Court of West Virginia answered two certified questions: (1) Are state law negligence, product liability, and breach of warranty claims against manufacturers of roof bolter dust collection systems preempted by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act? And (2) Are state law failure to warn claims against manufacturers of roof bolter dust collection systems preempted by the Act? Rejecting preemption on both counts, the Court notes that “Congress has clearly expressed its intent that states may adopt more stringent standards than those found in the Act. This Court must give effect to Congressional intent.” Further, the Court recognized that “‘the purpose of the Act is to protect the safety of the miner.’ Quite frankly, it seems to us that enforcement of a more stringent standard governing dust collectors would have the effect of better protecting the health and safety of miners by further limiting the amount of respirable silica that they breathe while operating roof bolters.” Finally, “while this Court agrees that compliance with federal standards is compelling evidence on the defendant’s behalf in any state law claim, such claims are not completely foreclosed.” See Davis v. Eagle Coal & Dock, No.33054, 2006 W.Va.LEXIS 144 (W.Va. Dec. 4, 2006).
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