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Workplace injuries still a problem in coal mining industry

National statistics on deaths in coal mines in 2012 have just been released. Although the national death toll has declined slightly from 2011, and now stands at 19 coal mining deaths for 2012, the industry still has a long way to go toward improving workplace safety among its workers. While workplace injuries occur in all industries, coal mining is still one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S.

The state of Ohio reported one coal miner's death, while the highest death toll, seven coal minors, came from another state. In addition to these deaths, there were also 17 other deaths involving the coal mining industry in 2012, in metal and nonmetal mining. The national organization that regulates the mining industry, Mine Safety and Health Administration is attempting to increase the safety of minors through a few new regulations.

One proposal would require the installation of certain devices that would automatically shut down if a worker gets too close to hazardous equipment that is used in mining. Another would address the issue of how to punish those coal mines that are repeat violators of safety regulations. Finally, the issue of coal dust that causes black lung disease is scheduled to be addressed head on this year. This disease is so pervasive in the industry that during a nine year period, over 10,000 minors died of the disease.

Luckily, Ohio coal miners are protected under the Ohio workers' compensation system. If a miner is injured while working on the job, they may seek compensation for lost wages if unable to work due to a work related injury. They may also be provided with medical treatment for the injuries suffered on the job. Additionally, if a coal miner in Ohio is stricken with an illness caused by industrial pollution that is directly attributable to their job, such as black lung disease, the workers' compensation system may also be available to the injured worker. These cases can be especially complex and require the services of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to obtain the best result.

Source:, "Coal mine accidents kill 19 workers in US in 2012", Jan. 3, 2013

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