Virginia regulators still haven't begun citing and fining mine operators who violate new standards aimed at preventing coal-dust explosions after Upper Big Branch.
Is piling on more regulation perhaps not the answer?
Focusing everyone's attention on enforcing those regulations that will have the greatest impact on safety might have more impact.
Some proposals are downright puzzling. One push this year calls for methane monitors to shut down equipment once levels meet 1.25 percent. But there is no technology available to make that happen, Smith said.
Ultimately, though mine safety begins at the top, it is carried out by miners.
"A lot of times we get hurt because we're lazy. We want to do it the easy way. You take a shortcut, the next thing you know you're crippled up because you took a shortcut," Smith said.
No one - from management to miners - should settle for that.