When the lawyers at The Segal Law Firm begin investigating serious mining injuries or deaths, we often hear that the pre-shift safety meeting consists simply of being told things such as “watch out,” “be careful,” or “watch that loose top.” These words of caution are not safety plans or safety meetings such as one would expect to see with a mine operator striving to follow the safety rules and provide a safe mining environment.

The lawyers at The Segal Law Firm represented the family of an experienced miner who was killed in a fatal rib fall incident. He left his wife, two sons and other family and friends to grieve a senseless death.

The deceased miner was an experienced roofbolter. Adverse mining conditions were experienced by the continuous miner operator and helper to such an extent that they were instructed to reduce mining cut depth. They also started using the continuous miner to scrape at loose rib material. When the deceased went into that entry, he and another roofbolter were instructed to “watch that place.” Watching was not adequate. The roofbolters were just beginning to bolt a third row when a section of mine rib some almost 14 feet long and up to 3 feet wide fell and struck the deceased miner, thereby pinning and crushing him.

The recent history of production was that the conditions had been so adverse that approved cuts of forty feet were regularly reduced to twenty feet. The Segal Law Firm investigation and discovery revealed that under such adverse conditions as being faced by the miners additional rib supports such as timbers, straps and mesh screening were absolutely required. Additional supports were required by law, regulation and the mine roof control plan. “Watch out” when the roof and ribs are sloughing is not adequate.

An aggressive approach by The Segal Law Firm attorneys allowed for a successful resolution for the miner’s family and beneficiaries. In the pursuit of justice, we work hard for miners and their families.