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Common hazards coal miners face in the workplace

If you reside in Jefferson, Walker or Tuscaloosa counties, it is probable that you have some type of connection to the coal mining industry. As such, you are likely aware that working as a coal miner can be a highly dangerous occupation and here at The Sapp Law Firm, L.L.C., we see the impact that a coal mining accident can have on miners and their families. According to the most recent report on the subject by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of fatal occupational injuries for coal miners was six times that of the entire private industry’s rate in 2007 and the rate of nonfatal injuries and illnesses was 13 percent higher for coal miners than the whole of private industry’s rate in 2008.

Mine collapses, specifically roof and rib falls, are one of the leading causes of both fatal and nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in the coal mining industry, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration reports. Humidity, negligence and any other number of factors can contribute to a mine’s roof or ribs being compromised, which commonly results in a collapse. Workers can sustain injury as a result of being struck by falling debris, being crushed by debris or becoming trapped inside the mine. 

Accidents involving equipment that is used in the mines also commonly cause occupational illnesses and injuries for coal miners, including forklift accidents, shuttle car accidents and rock truck accidents. These incidents can be a result of any number of factors, including equipment malfunction, defect or disrepair, as well as negligence or improper training. Miners may be hit by, or run into equipment, be pinned or pulled into equipment, or be struck by debris or equipment parts.

Both controlled and unexpected explosions are common contributors to workplace injuries for coal miners. Coal dust, certain gases and even a small spark, can all result in an explosion, which could lead to workers sustaining burns, being thrown up against the wall or equipment, or being hit by debris. Controlled blasting, if not done correctly or if something goes wrong, can have the same types of results as explosions.

Visit our page on workers’ compensation to learn more about injuries sustained by workers in coal mine accidents.

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