West Virginia is full of hard-working coal miners, and some of them can trace their family's history in the industry back for over a hundred years. Generations of Mountaineers have spent countless hours underground, facing dangerous conditions and long-term health problems to make a living and provide for their families. Sometimes, coal mine accidents are so terrible that the stories are told for centuries.
As the majority of Americans took a pause to gather and focus their thoughts on all there was to be thankful for, one family and the small West Virginia community where they live was given cause to mourn. Coal mine accidents claim lives each year, and 2020 has been no exception. With six deaths nationwide already recorded for the year, the death of a 20-year-old man brings the total to seven as December arrives.
Workers in the mining industry in West Virginia risk their lives with every shift they work. Blasting-related coal mine accidents are preventable but continue to happen. The highly explosive methane gas trapped in between the coal layers could cause catastrophic coal dust explosions. Improper use of explosives, or mechanical errors like malfunctioning or improper use of mining tools, has claimed many mineworkers' deaths.
West Virginia residents enjoy the benefits of modern technology on a daily basis. Modern technology can make life safer and can make many industries more efficient. Unfortunately, some industries are still incredibly dangerous for workers, and coal mines serve as a prime example. Coal mine accidents can even result in fatality.
Coal mining has been an influential industry in the United States for more than a century, and many West Virginia residents are still deeply entrenched in the coal industry. The hills of Appalachia are dotted with small towns and neighborhoods in which the local economy relies heavily on coal mining. The way big coal companies do business has evolved for the modern era, but for the average worker, coal mine accidents remain an ever-present danger.
Coal mining is historically one of the most prominent industries in West Virginia and other Appalachian states. Many miners come from a long line of relatives who have worked in the mines for generations. It is not unusual for industry giants to try to make sure coal mine accidents do not become public knowledge. Recently, a victim used the remainder of his life to speak out for himself and other workers who have suffered injuries or death in coal mines.
Recently, an opinion piece about the effects of coal mining in West Virginia presented some eye-opening facts about the dangers workers face each day in the often troubled coal mine industry. Being injured in coal mine accidents can obviously affect a victim seriously and immediately, but there may be evidence to suggest that an injured miner can suffer for a lifetime in ways that may not be so apparent. At first glance, it may seem like the instances of addiction to opioids and other prescription drugs that have ravaged families across the state are unrelated, but addiction and coal mining accidents may go hand in hand.
Individuals who operate in the mining industry may encounter a variety of hazards nearly every day. Incidents that occur near mines can have devastating results and fatal coal mine accidents have a way of leaving an entire community in mourning. A 41-year-old man from West Virginia has died following an incident involving a mining machine that took place on the surface of a mine in a neighboring state.
Mining will likely always be a high-risk industry regardless of the safety and health officials' efforts to limit injury risks. Stricter protocols and legislation, along with improved equipment safety, have brought about a drop in the fatality rate in the mining industry. However, coal mine accidents continue to cause injuries to workers in West Virginia. One of the most significant hazards in mining that continues to affect coal miners despite legally enforced measures is dust.
For some individuals in West Virginia or elsewhere who work in the mining industry, operating in and around heavy duty machines could be an everyday requirement. While these machines might play an integral role in operations, they could also pose a significant threat to safety should an incident take place. Coal mine accidents involving heavy machines run a greater risk of leading to serious harm or worse. One person has died during a recent incident involving a crane at a mine in another state.