West Virginia coal miners have no illusions about how dangerous their jobs can be. Coal mine accidents in that state and other states take several lives and cause numerous injuries each year. The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration investigates these accidents.
The agency recently released its findings regarding an accident that occurred on March 8. On that day, a longwall machine was extracting coal in an exposed area of the mine. A 45-year-old man suffered fatal injuries when some rock and a piece of coal fell in that area. Three other workers suffered unknown injuries in the same incident.
MSHA's report revealed that the McElroy Coal Company failed to install the appropriate support structure for the walls, face and roof of the Marshall County Mine -- particularly in the area where the accident occurred. McElroy Coal Co. is a subsidiary of Murray Energy, and that entity was cited in the accident. Someone from the company stated that the report is being reviewed and that safety is the company's first priority.
Regardless of the inherent dangers of working in a West Virginia coal mine, every worker is entitled to a safe environment. Coal mine accidents can occur under any number of circumstances, but when a company fails to keep its workers safe it should be held accountable. If a worker is injured, or a family loses a loved one in a coal mine accident, it might be beneficial to seek the advice and assistance of an attorney familiar with this area of law. Workers' compensation benefits may be available, and navigating the claims process can be complex without the help of an experienced professional.
Source: wvpublic.org, "Murray Energy Subsidiary Cited for Fatal Mine Accident", July 23, 2015