After a year that many felt was disappointing and exceptionally cruel, there is some good news coming to surface in the field of workplace safety. Those who have been a part of the fight to increase safety for coal mine workers â?? notoriously one of the most dangerous jobs available â?? can go ahead and chalk up 2016 as a success and a testament to the power of fighting for worker’s rights. As the year-end figures have begun to roll in, it appears that 2016 suffered near-record lows for coal mining deaths. In Pennsylvania, we lost only one life to coal-mining accidents, which is not a thing to be taken lightly.
Overall, the industry suffered nine deaths throughout the year. Not only is this a figure almost as low as it has ever been, 2016 was the third year in a row that such low figures were reported. While these are not technically official numbers for the year, they are an indication of some good news for workers throughout the industry, which is always welcome.
One of the most significant factors contributing to the decline in mining deaths is industry cooperation with safety regulations. Mine Safety and Health Administration chief Joe Main notes that “the angst that mine operators have with what we cite is dissipating,” indicating changing attitudes towards keeping mines safer for miners, even at the cost of some loss in productivity.
It is worth also considering that another contributing factor to the decrease in mining deaths and injuries is partially owed to overall shrinkage within the industry. While it would be wonderful to find that mining accidents were decreased due to safety measures alone, it is also due to fewer mining operations.
Despite this somewhat encouraging news, it is important to remain vigilant for the rights and safety of the workers who serve in mines and other dangerous jobs across many sectors of industry. If you have been the victim of an on-the-job accident or believe that your workplace is violating safe practices, the guidance of an experienced attorney can help you examine your options and protect your rights as you pursue justice.
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch, “2016 appears to set record with low of 9 coal mining deaths Story,” Jan. 02, 2017