Many North Carolina workers who are employed in the mining industry understand just how dangerous the job can be. In fact, the mining industry is considered to be one of the most dangerous industries in the nation. However, the number of deaths in the industry dropped to a record low of 28 in 2015.
According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the number of mining deaths dropped from 45 in 2014. Although mine closures and job cuts across the nation appeared to play a role, an agency spokesperson stated that an improvement in mine safety was a major factor. The improvements to mining safety were made after an explosion occurred at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch coal mine in 2010. The disaster left 29 West Virginia minors dead and led to enhanced regulations with certain mines that were known to have chronic safety violations.
Of the 28 deaths in 2015, 11 occurred in coal mines while the remaining 17 deaths occurred in metal and nonmetal mining operations Since the founding of the MSHA, the number of annual deaths have been declining every year. During the agency’s first year in 1978, 242 miners died after being involved in accidents that occurred at the workplace.
Employers are required to keep their employees as safe as possible through the use of certain safety standards and procedures. However, in certain industries that are known to be particularly dangerous, the risk of becoming injured while on the job can be high. Because a workplace injury could result in expensive hospital bills and lost income, most employers are required to provide workers’ compensation benefits to cover any expenses that could result from an accident. An attorney may assist an injured worker with filing the claim and appearing at appeals hearings should the claim be denied or disputed.