In July, a 15-year mining veteran died at Maitland's Superior Processing Plant. According to the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health Safety and Training, the worker, a foreman and welder, died from injuries related to an electrocution accident. The Bluefield Daily Telegraph notes that this plant is not currently processing coal and has been undergoing renovations. Local, state and federal agencies are investigating the worker's death.
West Virginia and Federal Fatality Reports
West Virginia's own investigation into various coal mining accidents cites operator and owner negligence, irresponsibility and lack of accountability as the major problems with coal mining injuries and fatalities, according to The Washington Post.
The United States Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration reports that the worker at Maitland's processing plant was an experienced miner working in the ceiling of the prep plant. The area was wet with very low visibility; the victim contacted an energized electrode causing his injuries, according to Fatalgrams and Fatal Reports.
Federal Mining Regulations
Preventing mining-related injuries and deaths will require an overhaul of coal mining industry regulations and practices. The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health cites specific measures that would be required to adequately deal with serial violators in the mining industry, including:
- Tougher civil and criminal penalties
- Power to subpoena operators
- Whistleblower protections for employees who report hazards
West Virginia coal miners who are injured due to the hazardous conditions that arise when profit comes before safety in West Virginia's mines deserve the protection that these regulations will afford. If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, contact an experienced local personal injury attorney to understand your rights.