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Working alone could increase risk of fatal coal mine accidents

Miners in West Virginia often face various dangers while operating alone. Recent reports have listed at least five fatalities since the beginning of the year, two of which involved coal miners. Coal mine accidents may occur less frequently than in previous years, but even one death may be considered one too many. Companies in West Virginia and across the country may soon be in need of revisions regarding solo operations in accordance with the policy initiated by the Mine and Safety Health Administration (MSHA).

This policy has declared that working alone in a hazardous environment is a risk to the health of miner. It states that no miner should be assigned or even allowed to work alone under these circumstances. Despite the policy, five miners have died under these conditions, prompting the MSHA to raise awareness of the dangers involved in operating under similar circumstances.

In the campaign to cull the amount of fatal incidents, the MSHA is sending officials to arrange meetings with miners during inspections. They will apparently use this time to speak about the importance of awareness in relation to the location of miners and any present dangers. The overall goal is to ensure miners are properly trained in safety procedures, capable of identifying possible risks and diligent in the performance of check-in and check-out procedures.

Coal mine accidents have claimed the lives of many loved ones over the years. When facing such a loss, surviving family members often seek financial restitution with the guidance of a personal injury attorney. An attorney in West Virginia can evaluate the accident and help pursue claims for financial relief under applicable state and federal workers' compensation laws. In some instances, a separate lawsuit in civil court for personal injuries or wrongful death may be appropriate. 

Source: ehstoday.com, "MSHA: Five Miners Die in First Three Months of 2017", Stefanie Valentic, May 4, 2017

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