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Mining deaths lead to increased safety enforcement

Pennsylvania families with loved ones working in the mining industry may be concerned about on-the-job hazards and safety. On Aug. 3, three mining workers across the country perished in separate work-related incidents in three different states. An official with the Mine Safety and Health Administration noted that this is the first time that this many people in the sector have died on the same day since 2002. Additionally, the official commented on the fact that there have been five deaths across the industry in just the last month.

As MSHA addresses the issue of on-the-job safety in both metal and non-metal areas of the mining sector, there will be a focus on conditions and situations that are most commonly connected to fatalities. Additionally, the agency intends to place inspectors in settings that allow them to interact directly with workers to review the best practices for avoiding fatal incidents. In the recent accidents, equipment played a role in two deaths, while material was an issue in the third. An 18-year-old man was killed in Virginia at a facility that has not previously recorded any worker deaths. However, the quarry in question had two safety violations and was assessed a fine earlier in the year.

Incorrect operation of equipment or careless handling could create an unsafe work environment in mining and in other industries. Oversight by company leaders is important for heading off accidents, and education can contribute to a better safety record. However, these actions should be ongoing to avoid reverting to unsafe working conditions for employees.

Workers' compensation coverage is an important part of a company's strategy for protecting employees, allowing for medical needs and lost work time to be paid for if a serious injury occurs. However, a worker's family may find that legal assistance is important if their loved one died while engaged in work-related activities, especially if there are difficulties in obtaining the appropriate benefits.

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