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Two accidents in two days draw attention to mining company’s safety practices

Last week, a work site managed by Alpha Natural Resources became fatal grounds when a diesel truck driver died after his truck overturned while hauling fuel. Few details about the accident have been released as of now and an investigation is being conducted by the federal Mine Safety Health Administration and the state Office of Miner’s Health, Safety and Training.

The accident was reportedly one of two that occurred in connection with the mining company in two days time. The other accident involved a man from another work site who is believed to have died during a site investigation prior to his shift when he was struck by a rock that fell off a mine wall. The accidents are certainly a reminder of the risks mine workers face on the job every day, but they are also a reminder of the importance of holding employers accountable for workplace safety issues and the need for workers to be aware of their rights to compensation. 

Both at the federal and state level, mining companies are bound by various regulations aimed at ensuring the safety of workers. Failure to abide by these regulations not only puts workers at risk of injury and death, it also puts the company at risk of penalties, increased oversight, higher workers’ compensation costs, and potentially even litigation from injured workers.

Workers who are seriously injured on the job, and the families of deceased workers, need to understand their rights in terms of workers’ compensation and work with an advocate when necessary. Employers and their insurance carriers are not always cooperative in the workers’ compensation process and having an experienced advocate at one’s side can be really beneficial. 

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