If you are one of the many coal miners in the Jasper area of Alabama, you are likely the primary source of income for your family. The industry in which you work poses numerous life-threatening hazards, and only proper precautions could prevent financial instability due to injuries. Mining involves long shifts and many hours underground, often in remote locations.
You will need good health, stamina and psychological strength to remain safe. However, awareness of the potential hazards may enable you to prepare for both the accident and health risks of coal mining.
Each one of the following mine accidents can cause catastrophic or even fatal injuries:
- Floods: Floods can originate from above ground after heavy rains but also from the immersion of underground water sources, which can compromise the stability of the pit walls.
- Cave-ins: This is the most common type of underground mine accident that can follow flooding, gradual land sinking, cracks in shaft floors and walls, and the failure to secure mineshaft ceilings and walls properly.
- Electrocutions: Industrial machines, lighting equipment and drills in the damp environment miles underground pose significant electrocution risks.
- Explosions: The buildup of methane gas in areas with insufficient ventilation, along with the threat of mining equipment that can make sparks, can cause deadly explosions.
- Fires: Coal dust ignites easily, and along with methane gas leaks, spills of flammable chemicals, and faulty or defective electrical connections, fires pose a significant hazard in any mine.
- Chemical leakages: Proper storage and safety procedures in the use of chemicals in a mine is essential as spillages can have devastating consequences.
Although ventilation systems, respirators and ear protectors have made mining safer, injuries, illnesses and fatalities still occur. The following are health risks against which you can take precautions:
- Welding fumes: Long-term exposure to molten metal welding fumes can cause systemic poisoning, irritation of the respiratory tract and pneumoconiosis, which is lung scarring.
- Dust: Pneumoconiosis and silicosis can develop from exposure to the fine dust particles that are ever-present in the mining environment. These particles can accumulate in your lungs and cause scarring, respiratory problems and even death.
- Mercury: If mercury is present in the organic compound in the mine where you work, even with minimal exposure, you can suffer mercury poisoning. The symptoms include weakness, mouth ulcers, loose teeth, bleeding gums, tremors, headaches, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea and cardiac deficiency.
- Radon: Lung cancer can follow long-term exposure to this radioactive gas, which is odorless.
- Heavy loads: Slips, falls, lifting and shoveling could lead to a significant number of injuries that may result in absence from work.
- Noise: The noise emanating from crushers, engines, drills and other mining equipment is so damaging if unfiltered that it can cause eardrum rupture, permanent loss of hearing and even compromised speech.
While facing all these risks, you might find comfort in knowing that you can pursue financial compensation. You have access to legal counsel who can identify and explain the potential compensation sources, and assist with the navigation of action to obtain the compensation you deserve.