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Rise in coal mining deaths generates safety concerns

The mining industry is important to residents in West Virginia and nearby states. Because residents in these states tend to work in this industry, the dangers and risks associated with mining are likely well known. Even more so, miners are also aware of the various health and safety steps that have been taken on the state and federal level to ensure the safety and well-being of miners. Unfortunately, these safety measures are not always taken or adequately applied, resulting in serious and fatal mining accidents.

According to recent statistics, a rise of fatal mining accidents has been occurring in the Ohio Valley region. This level of deaths has not been experienced since 2015, and this rate has generated many concerns among safety advocates. Twelve miners have already died on the job this year, with two of them occurring in Kentucky and six in West Virginia. In comparison, eight fatalities occurred in all of 2016.

Mine safety experts have spoken out about this spike in fatal mining accidents. Their concern relates to the fact that there are far fewer miners currently working as compared to previous years. This increase in fatalities could also be related to the lack of leadership when it comes to safety in the industry. The new administration stressed an increase in coal production and a rollback on regulations. The rise in fatal mining accidents could be the result of these recent changes. This is especially true since 2016 was the safest year to date for the mining industry.

When a workplace accident occurs, it is imperative to understand how it happened. Understanding the cause could help establish liability. Surviving loved ones of a deceased miner should know what their rights are and what benefits are available. It is still possible to collect workers' compensation benefits for a workplace accident. These could be used to offset financial harms and damages, such as medical bills, funeral costs and lost wages.

Source: Wfpl.org, "Miner Deaths Increase Amid Low Coal Employment," Becca Schimmel, Sept. 4, 2017

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