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Tragedy strikes a West Virginia coal mine again

There may be misfortunes and risks for those who work in the field of mining. In that profession, the number of incidents leading to work injuries is high. Recently, coal mine operations in West Virginia have experienced tragic events involving workers being fatally injured on the job.

The recent death of a Beckley man at an Arch Coal Mine is the second fatal mining accident in West Virginia in less than a week's time. The man is the fourth miner to die in the state this year. On a national level, he is the thirteenth miner to die this year. The threats and hazards on the job are generally high for miners, but in some cases, a work injury endured by a miner may be attributed to safety violations.

Recently, nine mines, including one located in West Virginia, were inspected. After going through scrupulous assessments and safety checks, they all failed to fully comply with safety regulations. The inspections indicated that some mines operated with faulty equipment, and others had improper roof control, an over-accumulation of flammable materials, or inadequate maintenance of conveyer belts. No matter the safety violation, measures such as educating workers, working with up-to-date equipment, frequent checks and inspections, and investigations of any incidents can help provide a more controlled and safer work environment to prevent miners from being injured on the job.

A miner injured in a work related accident may file a worker's compensation claim. Injured workers in any field may be entitled to compensation to assist with rehabilitation, medical bills lost wages and pain and suffering. Families of deceased workers may also be entitled to benefits to assist with hospital expenses, funeral costs, lost wages and pain and suffering.

In a high risk field like coal mining, measures to increase safety for miners should always be explored. Work accidents are not always preventable, but up-to-date safety measures should be implemented and subject to frequent review. Proper safety measures can prevent tragic accidents like what has happened in the West Virginia coal mines, and help workers avoid being injured on the job.

Source: Charleston Gazette, "Beckley miner killed at Arch Coal mine," Ken Ward Jr., August 1, 2012

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