Miners in Louisiana perform one of the most hazardous jobs in the country. From January 2010 to mid-December 2015, there were 122 people killed in mining accidents around the United States. Many of these fatal accidents could have been prevented if the workplaces were properly examined before workers entered them, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration.
On June 7, new rules for mining safety were proposed by the MSHA. The proposed rules would require mining companies to examine work areas before miners start working in them. If there are any conditions in a workplace that could be unsafe or unhealthy for miners, mining companies must disclose that information to the miners. Mining companies will also have to keep detailed records of each mine inspection and make these records available to the MSHA.
Under current mining safety rules, an examination of a workplace can be completed at any point during a work shift. The rules do not explicitly require mining companies to tell miners about any unsafe conditions that are found in a mine examination. A spokesperson for the agency says that mining environments change all the time and need to be monitored continuously to ensure that workers are not at risk.
Some mining injuries are the result of an accident while others are caused by long-term exposure to toxic substances. An attorney can often assist an injured miner in filing a workers’ compensation claim for benefits. Miners who were injured because of the negligence of a third party other than the employer, such as the manufacturer of defective equipment, may also be able to file a separate personal injury lawsuit.