If you have been injured in a mining accident and are not receiving the medical care you deserve, contact a Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer immediately.
Mining is one of the most dangerous industries in existence today. And not just because of the nature of the work but also because of the potential for serious injuries. According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there were 12,968 mining operations in 2019. Of those, 3,926 resulted in injuries that led to days away from work, job transfer, or restriction.
News stories of trapped miners around the world still haunt the mining industry, even with every possible precaution being taken. Workers in the underground mining industry put their health and lives in danger every time they enter their place of work. Those in Missouri are no exception.
Every year, miners are killed in accidents, and many more are injured. If you have been injured, it is your right as an employee to be fully compensated for work-related injuries, as well as any future medical care you may require.
Number One Cause of Injury
Falling debris and rock is still the number one cause of injury to Missouri miners. While OSHA requires that precautions be taken to protect miners from being hurt from falling debris, the methods used are often ineffective. From a great height, even a rock smaller than your fist can cause a severe injury. Whether proper safety measures are followed or not, an experienced Missouri workers’ compensation attorney can help you prove that your injury is recognized as a work-related one and that you receive all of the medical treatment you need to fully recover.
Other Common Causes of Mining Accidents
Another common cause of mining accidents is cave-ins. A cave-in can occur when the supports in a mine collapse, causing the roof to fall in. In 2010, 29 miners were killed in a cave-in at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia. The cause of the accident was later determined to be an explosion caused by a buildup of methane gas. Explosions can also be caused by faulty equipment and careless handling of explosives.
Fires can also cause mining accidents. Fires in mines may be caused by careless handling of equipment or explosives. For example, in 2007, a fire at the Darby Mine in Kentucky killed five miners and injured six others. The cause of the fire was later determined to be a spark from a piece of mining equipment that ignited some methane gas that had accumulated in the mine.
These are not the only hazards facing miners today. They are at risk for injury from sudden floods, explosions, and toxic air; these dangers are compounded by the close quarters inside of the mine. OSHA insists that mining companies and their employees undergo extensive training to learn how to avoid these types of accidents and how to protect themselves from injury in the event of one. This type of training goes a long way in preparing miners for how to react when an emergency situation does arise. Even so, employees of the mining industry are still getting hurt on the job every day.
Common Mining Injuries and Their Impact
Some of the common mining injuries include:
- Burns from exposure to chemicals or explosions
- Amputation from roof collapses
- Cuts and lacerations from sharp tools and equipment
- Broken bones from falls or being struck by heavy objects
- Eye injuries from flying debris or chemicals
- Hearing loss from exposure to loud noise
- Respiratory problems from exposure to dust and fumes
Unfortunately, these injuries can have a profound and far-reaching impact on an individual’s life. For one, most of these injuries are quite serious and can require extensive medical treatment. This can lead to significant financial strain, emotional stress and trauma.
In addition, mining injuries can often lead to permanent disability, making it difficult to participate in social activities or access essential services. A permanent disability can also prevent an individual from being able to work and support themselves or their family. This can be devastating both financially and emotionally.
Finally, mining injuries can also have a ripple effect on an individual’s family and community. For example, if an individual is the primary breadwinner for their family, their injury can create a financial hardship.
How Can Mining Accidents Be Prevented?
Preventing mining accidents is essential to keeping miners safe. Some of the things that can be done to prevent accidents include:
- Providing proper training to miners on how to do their job safely
- Inspecting mines regularly to ensure that they are safe
- Enforcing safety regulations
- Miners should always wear a hard hat and other protective clothing
- Using safer mining methods and equipment
Other safety measures to prevent mining accidents and keep miners safe include installing ventilation systems to remove methane gas from mines, installing methane detectors, repairing faulty equipment, and following safety procedures when handling explosives.
Given the huge impact that mining accidents have on the victims and their families, it would help to have a clear understanding of the legal process for seeking compensation. Unfortunately, the process can be complex and confusing, particularly for those who are already coping with the aftermath of a serious accident.
There are a few important things to keep in mind, however, when pursuing a claim for damages. First, it is important to act quickly. There is usually a statute of limitations in place, which means that if too much time passes, you may be barred from filing a claim.
Second, gather as much evidence as possible. This may include medical records, eyewitness statements, and anything else that can help to support your case. Third, consult with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and maximize your chances of success.
What to Do If You Cannot Return to Work After a Mining Injury
Some injuries sustained by working miners are so severe that returning to the workplace is not an option. In this case, the employer is generally obligated to pay a percentage of the worker’s salary until they are able to, if ever, return to gainful employment. The employer and the insurance company are likely to try and dispute these claims, making it necessary for the injured employee to appeal the decision. It is therefore important to speak with a Missouri workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to ensure your legal rights are protected.
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