When people discuss mining accidents, the Sago Mine Disaster frequently comes up, along with several others, with good reason—coal mining is a dangerous occupation given the prevalence of. Underground coal mining is also one of the biggest employers in West Virginia. More than 15,000 people who go to work every day in a mine here, and we produce about one tenth of the nation’s coal supply. It’s a safe, abundant form of energy that costs less than other energy types. The coal industry is also making a comeback, and along with it more Charleston WV mining accidents .
West Virginia has the highest rate of fatalities from industry accidents in the US. Despite improved safety processes and equipment, OSHA regulations, and agencies like the US Department of Labor’s Mine Safety & Health Administration and West Virginia’s Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, Charleston WV mining accidents still occur, some with unfortunate outcomes.
Common Causes Of Charleston WV Mining Accidents
1. Crush injuries by machinery—one of the top accidents in mines, preventable by proximity detection systems, which shut down machinery before it gets too close to workers. These machines were mandated by the Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety in 2014, and required to be installed by March 16, 2018.
2. Methane/Consecutive Coal Dust Explosions—methane is a highly flammable gas that sits between the layers of coal. Improper use of explosives, malfunctioning equipment or incorrect use of these tools can ignite methane and trigger consecutive coal dust explosions. Miners are frequently trapped and/or killed by these kinds of accidents.
3. Fire—obviously, smoking should not be happening in a mine, but it does. But there are other causes of mine fires as well:
- “Hot work” such as burning, grinding and welding
- Air and/or gas compression
- Internal combustion engines, including exhaust systems, air inlets and other hot surfaces
- Friction from defective bearings that cause sparking, including electrical equipment
4. Flooding—intentional explosions, unsafe mining conditions and aging infrastructure in need of repair can lead to water inside a mine
5. Collapsing—coal dust explosions, explosives used in mining as well as mine-induced seismic activity can cause a mine to collapse.
- Failure of Pillars—these hold up the interior of the mine during excavation and lining. Collapse may also happen if the timber isn’t properly installed and secured.
6. Toxic Fumes—because the environment in a mine is confined, ventilation is necessary to prevent a buildup of any kind of airborne contaminants. This can include dust, diesel fumes, aerosols, particulate matter, and trapped gases released by explosions.
7. Fly-rocks—this is a big cause of accidents in mines. If a worker is too close to the blast, or the flying debris went farther than anyone expected, the individual can be hit and injured.
Despite improvements in safety, some accidents can’t be prevented or anticipated. But mining companies owe it to their employees, and their families, to ensure that safety equipment is available, used, and mining safety best practices are followed explicitly, every day. If your loved one was injured or killed as a result of a mining company’s negligence, contact us to discuss your case.
The Experienced West Virginia Mining Accident Attorney You Need
Attorney Chad Love has more than 20 years’ experience representing miners and victims of mining accidents. The Love Law Firm is a Charleston, West Virginia personal injury law firm with extensive experience handling mining accident cases. Call us today at 304-344-5683 (or use our online contact form) and schedule your free consultation. There’s no charge for the first visit, and our contingency fee arrangement means you won’t pay unless we win your case and recover money for you.