Years ago, workplace accidents were a common occurrence. An individual went to work in one of the West Virginia coal mines knowing that there was a possibility an accident would occur and he would not make it out. Fortunately, times and working conditions have changed. However, every year, coal mine accidents do claim lives throughout the state.
Currently, there are both state and federal regulations in place to help keep miners safe. These regulations cover areas such as fire safety, ventilation as well as how accidents are investigated. However, even with these regulations, West Virginia continues to lead the country in coal mine deaths with a total of four deaths in 2016 and two so far in 2017.
At least one state senator has suggested changes to mining regulations. He has proposed a bill that apparently would rely on federal mining standards rather than state ones. In place of state fines, compliance notices would be issued. The United Mine Workers of America has expressed concern regarding this proposal.
West Virginia employers have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment for their employees. This safe environment does also apply to those working in the coal mines. Each year, miners fall victim to coal mine accidents in which they are seriously injured or killed. This can result in financial and emotional devastation for the entire family. When this happens, the miner and/or his family will want to work with an experienced attorney to make sure that they investigate their available legal options.
Source: CNN, “West Virginia coal mine bill would curb safety rules“, Kelly McCleary, March 15, 2017