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Keeping miners safe from hand injuries

Coal mining is not only an arduous occupation, but it has many hazards as well. For these reasons, West Virginia coal miners may be interested in reading an advisory warning issued by the Mine Safety and Health Administration. According to the agency, from the begining of 2010 to Aug. 31, 2016, coal miners throughout the country suffered about 5,700 work-related hand injuries. The agency found that four workplace activities accounted for approximately 4,000 of the reported work-related accidents that resulted in such injuries. These activities were operating non-powered hand tools, handling supplies or material, roof bolting and performing machine maintenance.

As a result of these hazards, the agency has proposed best practices to keep coal miners more safe. In the first place, coal mining supervisors and managers should give miners the training they need to recognize each activity's dangers and how to safely handle tools and equipment. Further, coal mining equipment and machinery should never be used without safety guards, or if their emergency shut-off switches or panic bars are inoperable.

Coal mining supervisors should make sure the work area is free from tripping hazards, especially where material and supplies are handled. Coal miners ought to wear snug-fitting or metacarpal gloves when doing their tasks, so minor cuts, pinching or bruising can be avoided or reduced. Oversized gloves can easily become snagged in machinery, which can lead to miner's injuries. Employers must also ensure miners are using the proper tool for each task. Another way employees can avoid hand injuries is to cut away from themselves with using sharp tools, knives and box cutters to avoid hand injuries.

Most mining companies are required to have workers' compensation insurance coverage in place for the benefit of their employees. A person who is injured in a mining accident might want to meet with an attorney to learn how to file a claim for benefits thereunder.

Source: National Law Review, "Mine Safety Agency Issues Hand-Injury Advisory", Raymond Perez II, Dec. 6, 2016

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