West Virginia residents are all too aware of the dangers of coal mining. We have experienced too many tragedies that have claimed the lives of those who do this difficult and often dangerous work.
Even though we're more than a decade into the 21st century, sadly the human costs of this line of work are still in the news. Mining deaths reached historic lows in 2014. The head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration said, "Zero annual fatalities are absolutely possible. It is a goal we pursue daily." However, last month, the MHSA announced that four coal miners lost their lives in the line of work during the first three months of 2015. In addition, six fatal accidents involving metal and nonmetal mining occurred during the first quarter of this year.
The four coal mining deaths occurred throughout three states, including West Virginia. The man who was killed in our state was a 45-year-old miner. According to the MHSA, he was struck by a piece of mining roof in Marshall County at the McElroy Mine. Investigators said that the man was shoveling loose material when he was fatally injured. The other miners killed in coal mining accidents lost their lives in Pennsylvania and Virginia mines.
The head of the MSHA insists that the agency is "determined to make mines safer and healthier places to work, so miners can work and then return home safe and healthy after each shift. We owe our miners that much."
Anyone who has been injured or who has lost a loved one to a mining accident can and should seek legal guidance to determine what his or her options are. The threat of civil action and significant settlements can incentivize owners of coal mines to make worker safety a priority.
Source: MetroNews, "MSHA reports 4 coal mining deaths in first quarter," April. 29, 2015