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Fifth West Virginia coal miner to die this year killed by rock

Families of West Virginia miners accept jobs that loved ones do can be dangerous. The awareness doesn't mitigate the suffering experienced by spouses, children and parents of fatally injured coal miners. Emotional distress can be followed quickly by financial troubles due to the loss of a wage earner's income.

Officials recently recorded the fifth West Virginia coal miner death of 2014. The 49-year-old man, a section foreman, was killed while working in an underground mine near Morgantown. The accident victim was hit by a rock and killed as he was using a roof bolting machine.

The nighttime fatality recently occurred at the Crawdad No. 1 Portal B Mine operated by the Red Bone Mining Company. The mine was not an extensive operation. Just 45 employees mined 350,000 tons of coal at Crawdad No. 1 in Monongalia County last year, according to reports and information from the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Investigators from MSHA and state agencies were conflicted over the time of the coal mine accident. Federal investigators reported the incident happened around 10:30 p.m., about an hour after times reported by the Monongalia County Emergency Management Agency, Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training and state Division of Homeland Security. Investigators noted The Red Bone mine maintained better than average safety ratings.

The small coal mine was given a safety award by the West Virginia Coal Association earlier in 2014. In early 2013, a federal impact inspection at Crawdad No. 1 resulted in three violations, of which only one was considered serious. Reports did not indicate whether investigators felt the fatality was linked to mine safety violations.

Workers' compensation death benefits can provide some relief to coal miners' families. However, this financial remedy frequently isn't sufficient for survivors. A coal mining injury attorney can investigate all possible sources of compensation, including legal claims against negligent parties, like mining equipment manufacturers or other third parties.

Source: The Charleston Gazette, "Monongalia County miner killed" Ken Ward Jr., Nov. 11, 2014

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