More mine inspections to come after worker deaths

Mine workers in Pennsylvania may be interested to learn that the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration has announced plans to conduct tougher work site inspections. The increased safety enforcement efforts will reportedly begin in mid-August and are being launched in response to a slew of fatal mine accidents.

On Aug. 3, three miners were killed in separate incidents that took place at mines in Virginia, South Dakota and Nevada. One of the deaths happened in Virginia when a silo collapsed on top of an 18-year-old man. Investigators have not yet determined the cause of that accident. In a public statement on Aug. 5, the assistant secretary of the MSHA said that the number of recent mine-related deaths was alarming.

When the new inspections begin, federal inspectors will be focusing their attention on the types of safety violations that are the most common causes of mining deaths. Not only will inspectors be looking for violations, they will be educating miners and mine operators about methods for preventing fatal mine accidents. The MSHA assistant secretary said that everyone in the mining industry must cooperate to decrease the number of mining deaths.

A person who has been injured in a mining accident can claim some financial compensation for lost working hours and medical bills under the employer's workers' compensation insurance. In the case of a fatal on-the-job accident, the right to file a workers' compensation claim is passed to the deceased worker's surviving family members. An attorney who has experience in this area might provide assistance with the preparation and filing of the claim and supporting documents.

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