Mining is synonymous with West Virginia, and it’s the state’s biggest industry. Miners can make much better salaries than nearly anything else in the state, and it’s a highly skilled job. But mining is also one of the most dangerous professions. Injuries are common, and accidents can be certain death for those caught in the crossfire.
West Virginia’s most dangerous mining is the one that produces the most energy: coal.
The Dangers Of Coal Mining
Generations of families have worked in West Virginia coal mines despite the inherent dangers of the job. Even those who are injured on the job go back to work after their convalescence is completed.
While there are multiple dangers in coal mining, these are some of the most common:
- Black Lung Disease and other health conditions—we’ve discussed this topic before, but Black Lung, Silicosis, and hearing loss are just some of the conditions miners can develop over their career. Many individuals aren’t diagnosed with these conditions until long after they’ve retired from the job, and generally over the age of 50.
- Toxic gases—until sophisticated multi-gas detectors became the norm, miners carried canaries into the coal mines to detect carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide in the air. If the canaries passed out suddenly, miners left immediately. These gases are a byproduct of the coal mining process, and miners test the air for them constantly. Fortunately, canaries are no longer needed.
- Ground falls—because coal mines are in softer, sedimentary rocks, the risk of collapse is great, and ground falls are more common. Metal scaling bars are used to check for loose spots on a daily basis. To reduce the risk, mesh or metal ground support is used as well as shotcrete.
- Rock bursts—weak rock strength and the removal of wide expanses of walls can lead to ribs or a support pillar buckling and exploding, potentially killing anyone in the area.
- Ground bumps—similar to a rockburst, this happens when the floor rises up into the ceiling in a reverse collapse. Engineers do work to create mines that can prevent these from happening, but they still do. Both are nearly exclusive to coal mines.
- Equipment Injuries—from crush injuries to malfunctioning equipment, accidents involving mining equipment can also leave a minor seriously injured.
Safety, Worker’s Compensation, And Denied Claims
Although many companies emphasize safety, it’s not uncommon to hear about shortcuts and individuals who didn’t receive safety training, safety gear, or both.
Companies interested in increasing profit margin may engage in cutting corners to maximize profit at the expense of their employees. Some companies have been known to deny injured workers Workers Compensation, refusing them an application or stalling them when they need the coverage most.
These companies assume that eventually, you’ll stop bothering them for something you’re entitled to, and they won’t have to pay for your medical bills and partial wages while you recover, emboldened by the company’s legal team. That’s the time you need your own legal representation.
West Virginia’s Mining Accident Attorney
Whether you’ve been injured in a coal mine or lost a loved one to a mining accident, you’re entitled to help when you need it. If your company isn’t cooperating, call us. We represent both injured miners and the families of deceased miners to help them get the compensation they deserve.
The Love Law Firm in Charleston, West Virginia’s personal injury law firm with more than 20 years of 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.