Safety for West Virginia’s coal miners

West Virginia residents who work in coal mines or who have family members who work in coal mines should learn about safety rules and laws.

People in West Virginia who are employed in coal mines understand the inherent risks involved in this industry. Inadequate maintenance of mine equipment and ignored safety regulations are just two of the factors that can create dangerous situations for workers in the mines. Explosions, problems with ventilation and other incidents can result in injury accidents or even fatal accidents all too easily. Victims and their family members deserve to have a good understanding of the risks and how to get help if involved in an accident.

How have safety laws in the nation's coal mines evolved?

Coal mine safety has been legislated in the United States since 1891 when the first the Mine Safety and Health Administration indicates that the first set of laws designed to keep miners safe were passed. Multiple sets of laws followed over the subsequent years with a major reform being passed in 1969. The Coal Act was the law that established rules requiring four inspections every year for underground coal mines and two inspections every year for surface mines. If violations of the laws were identified, the penalties could be both criminal and financial in nature.

Recent improvements in coal mine safety

Fox Business and the Courier Journal provide information that point to a reduction in the nation's death rate due to accidents in coal mines. In fact, this statistic is at its lowest level ever. It is, however, important to note that employment levels at the nation's coal mines have dropped which may contribute to a lower fatality rate. Records kept by the MSHA indicate that in the years between 2004 and 2015, a total of 119 people died in coal mines in West Virginia.

In 2010, an explosion at a mine operated by Massey Energy took the lives of many workers and prompted a spike in the level of oversight into mine safety by the federal government.

The leader of the company at the time is reported to face up to 31 years in a federal prison as a result of the accident. The 2010 accident is noted to have been affected by the coal dust and methane levels as well as inappropriate or unsafe mine equipment.

An investigation into other mines was also launched concerning very specific mine safety violations. The initial results of the investigation showed that 51 mines required inspection and, of those, 42 were coal mine operations.

Important information for miners

Anyone who is an injury victim of an accident in a mine deserves compensation. Talking to an attorney is recommended in order to help achieve this.

Keywords: coal mine, accident, injury