Coal mining deaths in the country dropped to an all-time low last year. Five coal miners died at work, compared to 11 in 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). That is a massive improvement from a century ago, where it is estimated around 1,000 coal miners died each year. Part of the reason for the recent death reduction may be due to the safety awareness campaigns and rule changes the MSHA has implemented. While a drop in deaths is positive news, the five families who lost a loved one in 2020 have nothing to cheer about. Every death is one too many.
Working in a coal mine carries many risks
Of course, not all mining accidents are fatal. Many more coal miners are injured on the job each year. Often the injuries are devastating, leaving them unable to work and with lifelong pain. Some lose limbs, vision or hearing. Others are left needing to use a wheelchair for the rest of their life.
It is not just accidents that you need to worry about as a coal miner. There are the potential long-term health effects of your job. These include respiratory diseases such as the so-called black lung disease, or coal workers pneumoconiosis as it is also known. Damaged lungs can leave you more vulnerable to the effects of other diseases as many have found out during the last year.
Coal mining is a highly profitable industry for the companies that own and operate the mines. If you or a family member is injured working in a coal mine, seek legal help to ensure you receive the compensation you need. If companies spent more on safety, they could avoid these accidents.