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How can you increase mine safety and prevent mining accidents?

Residents in West Virginia are well-aware of the risks and dangers present in the mining industry. Furthermore, many are knowledgeable about past or recent mining accidents that have impacted residents and workers in the region. For this reason, proper mine safety and training is crucial for all miners, no matter their status, position or how long they have been working. Keeping training up-to-date and taking note of accident statistics and causes could help increase safety and prevent fatal work injuries.

How can you increase mine safety and prevent mining accidents? According to a recent report by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, contractor fatalities are a major concern and are being addressed through a recent safety alert. According to this alert, two contractor fatalities already have occurred in 2015, while seven happened during this past year.

In order to increase safety and reduce or prevent these types of incidents, the alert provides best practices for the mining industry. First, all personnel should be monitored to ensure that safe work procedures are followed. Next, these safe work procedures should be discussed and learned by everyone, which will help them to identify and control risks and hazards in the work environment.

Third, miners and other workers in the mining industry should be sure to inspect their work area for hazards. Fourth, pre-operational checks should be conducted in order to identify defects that could cause dangers or risks. Lastly, safety equipment, such as fall protection, hard hats, seat belts and safety glasses should be provided and employees should receive training about proper usage.

While keeping best practices in mind, these steps could help reduce and prevent mine accidents. Although this should help prevent incidents, it does not guard against all, especially if an employee is negligent and causes another worker to suffer a serious or fatal work injury. In these matters, it is important to understand the cause so that new and better practices could be established.

When a mine accident occurs, it is important that workers and their loved ones understand their rights and options. Filing for workers' compensation could help with medical expenses, rehabilitation and lost wages.

Source: United States Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration, "Contractor Fatality Alert," accessed Feb. 16, 2015

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