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What are the Most Common Problems Encountered with Coal Mining Safety in West Virginia?

May 10, 2013 in Coal Mine Injuries, West Virginia Courts and Laws

In the coal mining industry, safety hazards are prevalent and unfortunately, the number one problem encountered is when employers and contractors make the mistake of putting production ahead of safety.  When their mindset dictates that the mining of coal must be performed in a manner where they can get as much as they can on every single shift, that’s when their regard for safety of all employees takes a backseat and this disregard for safety precautions can arise in both surface and deep coal mines.

Out-by work is critically important in deep mines as it is a lifeline for each and every miner.  This includes rock dusting, adequate ventilation and proper equipment maintenance.  We here at the Segal Law Firm have seen far too many instances where equipment has undergone improper maintenance or has been rebuilt in such a way that it no longer complies with manufacturer’s standards.  Safety devices may be altered, jack leg parts may be used and in some cases, safety devices are simply welded off completely.  We have seen cases where roof bolters literally hang and kill their operators or where blast shields crushed the heads of maintenance people.  We have also seen roofs fall as a result of people failing to follow the roof bolting and roof support plan approved by MSHA.

Indifference to Rules & Lack of Proper Training Cause Injuries and Deaths [Sub-title]

The end result of production becoming more important that following safety rules is the occurrence of tragedies.  Improper training of employees is yet another reason these tragedies occur and this can happen with both young and old employees.  An employee may be changed from one job to another, but that change does not include training.  There are strict state and federal rules and regulations that should be followed by every mining employer, but of course, adherence is all too easily abandoned when production becomes more important.

The Segal Law Firm has seen many cases were miners were injured or killed all because that person was working near someone who was much too focused on production instead of worrying about safety standards, and the sad truth is, many of these tragedies were a direct result of lack of proper training.  We’ve seen cases where people were driving enormous pieces of mining equipment that can be three stories tall, and these giant pieces of equipment have blind spots.  It is typical for this sort of equipment to be outfitted with television cameras that allow them to view their co-workers who might be in those blind spots, but…they are unable to view them because those cameras are either not working properly or are completely removed!  When someone is crushed by one of these huge pieces of equipment, there is little to no chance of survival.

If you or your family have suffered an injury or death that might be due to a disregard of safety rules or employee training, it’s time to get answers to your questions.  You can contact us by clicking the Contact Us tab at the top of the page or you can call 855-344-9100.

The information on this website is for general informational purposes only. This general information is not actual legal advice. Nothing on this website should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.