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Mines and safety inspections

West Virginia and other Appalachian states that have been the most adversely impacted by the coal industry slump want to lower the number of mine safety inspections that are required each year. The state of Kentucky's action of conducting advisory visits in lieu of some inspections have been met with approval by coal companies. Surviving loved ones of coal miners who have died as a result of workplace accidents disagree with the policy, however.

Kentucky officials assert that they are not lessening enforcement measures and that the law, which was passed by a majority-Republican legislature, will actually place officials in the mines on a more frequent basis to assist miners with cultivating safe working habits. If a safety problem is identified, the law will allow for the number of inspections to increase. The reduction in mandatory inspection visits is taking place the at same time as cuts to the Department of Labor, the administrating body for the federal mine safety program, are being proposed. According to federal law, federal inspectors have to perform four annual inspections on underground mines.

Lawmakers in West Virginia, which had its fifth coal mining death of the year on June 13, had proposed reducing the number of required inspections from four to just one beginning in 2017. However, they reconsidered doing so after nationwide objections and criticisms were raised.Nine coal miners across the nation have been killed in so far in 2017. In 2016, there were eight fatalities.

Miners who sustain workplace injuries or the surviving loved ones of miners who have been killed on the job might want to consult an attorney regarding financial compensation. Mining companies may be held financially liable for business practices that contribute to or cause the cave-in accidents or other incidents that result in a miner's injury or death.

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