The equipment used to locate, extract and transport coal has become more efficient and sophisticated. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean that working in a coal mine has become any safer. Miners still face a large number of risks on the job. Workers get hurt when they fall, when they are exposed to dangerous chemicals or gases and even when they get electrically shocked.
However, if you look at the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reporting site for miner fatalities, you will quickly notice a trend. Specifically, two of the most frequent causes of death reported are machinery and powered haulage.
Moving components are a danger in the workplace
Getting coal from the point where workers take it out of the earth to vehicles that can transport it takes considerable infrastructure. The systems that mines create to move coal can injure or possibly kill a worker when something goes wrong.
In these scenarios, the cause of death is powered haulage, and it is one of the most common causes of catastrophic accidents in mines. Workers could be injured by extraction tools or even vehicles. These scenarios attribute the death to machinery. While both machinery and powered haulage cause deaths, they also cause serious and possibly debilitating injuries, like crushing injuries, amputations and traumatic brain injuries.
Injured workers may not be able to earn the same wages any more
When someone who works a physically demanding and dangerous job like coal extraction is injured, they don’t always have the option of going back to work afterward. Sometimes the injury can leave them with trauma that makes going back into the mine too difficult. Other times, they may have persistent physical injuries that prevent them from doing the work safely.
Both miners who have to change occupations and those who lose a loved one after a machinery accident in a coal mine may need to seek compensation. An experienced attorney can help.