Coal miners are particularly vulnerable to fatal workplace accidents. There have already been more deaths in the nation's coal mines in 2017 than there were in 2016,with five so far taking place in West Virginia. Even so, the coal miner's union has claimed that the Mine Safety and Health Administration was not working on a viable solution to reduce the number of deaths.
By August 2017, 10 miners had died in accidents. In 2016, there was a record low number of eight mining fatalities. As a response to the increase in fatalities, the MSHA sent officials to different mines to train miners on safer working habits. However, the United Mine Workers of America said that this response fell short as the federal inspectors responsible for the training are not allowed to punish the mine if safety violations are discovered.
A deputy assistant secretary for the federal safety agency said that eight of the 10 miners who have died in 2017 had been working at that particular mine for less than one year. For example, a death that occurred in May 2016 occurred after a minor struck his head on the roof of the mine after only having worked there for nine weeks. A miner who died on July 25, 2017, died after only working at a the locationfor less than two weeks.
Coal mines are considered to be one of the most dangerous work environments simply due to the number of hazards and risks workers face on a daily basis. Those who suffer injuries in cave-in accidents or dust explosions may want to meet with an attorney to see if the accident was due to a reckless breach of safety protocols on the part of the company and, if so, if there is a way to obtain compensation for the losses.