Two Recent West Virginia Coal Mining Fatalities Caused by Equipment
Two recent coal mining fatalities in West Virginia both involved miners crushed by mining equipment.
September 01, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The daily perils faced by West Virginia coal miners range from equipment-related accidents to violations of highwall safety standards and other coal mining safety rules. Whatever type of risk leads to a coal mining accident, serious injuries and fatalities to miners are far too often the result.
Two recent coal mining fatalities in West Virginia suddenly doubled this year's list of mining deaths. The mining accidents happened only a few days apart under tragically similar circumstances.
The first occurred on July 27 at Coal River Mining's Fork Creek No. 10 mine in Boone County. A 35-year-old miner from Lenore was crushed between a continuous miner and a mine wall during the midnight shift when the massive machine was being moved.
Only three days later, a 43-year-old miner from Beckley suffered fatal crush injuries in Raleigh County's Pocahontas Mine when he too was pinned against a mine wall by mining equipment during an overnight shift. This was the second such fatal accident at the mine in just over two years. International Coal Group was cited after the previous incident by federal authorities for a roof-control plan violation.
Continuous miners can move as much coal in five minutes as individual miners long ago using traditional tools could remove in a day, but working in close proximity to such powerful machines poses continuous hazards. Ensuring that machinery such as scoops, buggies and conveyor belts are properly maintained and all workers are adequately trained minimizes these risks. When a red hat gets in the way of a moving machine, the fact that he lacked training can be relevant to a determination of liability for resulting injuries or death.
News of these recent coal mining deaths came just after West Virginia authorities cast blame about failures in granting timely mine inspections and permits. Whether delays by the Division of Mining and Reclamation are due to agency turnover or increased scrutiny from the Environmental Protection Agency, mine workers deserve every protection available from state and federal law to ensure that their workplaces are as safe as possible.
Workers who are injured in mining accidents have powerful legal rights. A West Virginia coal mining accident attorney can explain the prospects for filing a work injury or wrongful death claim to hold employers accountable when they fail to implement safety regulations, ignore obvious hazards or place miners in peril without the skills they need to avoid harm.
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