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Shapiro & Appleton

Deaths Rise in America’s Mining Industry says Report

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Mining, which incldes oil drilling, has long been considered one of America's most dangerous jobs. It appears to be getting even riskier. As a study on 2010 workplace safety by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows, major disasters at a coal mine in West Virginia (WV) and on board a Gulf of Mexico oil rig operated by British Petroleum sharply increased mining injuries over the previous year.

Reuters reported that the disasters pushed up fatal work injuries by 74 percent to 172 in 2010 from 99 in 2010. This means, according to the article, "fatality rates for mining rose to 19.9 in 2010 from 12.4 in 2009 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers."

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion killed 11 workers, while an explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia killed 29 miners. The West Virginia accident has led to a spate of wrongful death lawsuits and rased questions about the safety record of the operators of the mine.

See this U.S. Coast Guard video of the Deepwater Horizon fire.



Earlier this year our experienced Virginia (VA) wrongful death attorneys reported on how the number of wrongful death lawsuits brought against the owners had climbed to 13, Legal experts say the number of claims could increase even further, in the wake of a critical independent report into the safety record of the mine owners, Massey Energy Company, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

The families in the West Virginia wrongful death lawsuits claim the Upper Big Branch Mine was run in a reckless and an unsafe manner. The suits claim there were violations of federal regulation criminal negligence, and possibly even bribery of regulators.

Several families of workers lost in the Deepwater Horizon disaster have settled wrongful death lawsuits in the $8-$9 million range, following talks with rig owner Transocean Ltd, well owner BP PLC and other companies, the Wall Street Journal has reported.  

The latest BLS report on most dangerous jobs makes for worrying reading because it suggests other professions are getting more dangerous. For instance, there was also a 40 percent increase in the number of police officers killed, making law enforcement America's second most dangerous profession in 2010. Of police officers who died on the job, 57 cases involved fatal highway accidents and 48 involved homicides.


Overall, there were 4,547 fatal work injuries in 2010, a small drop from the final count of 4,551 fatalities in 2009, according to the survey.

Our attorneys have been involved in numerous cases in which we have represented workers or the families of workers who have been seriously injured or killed. In the wrongful death case of a CSX railroad worker who lost his life to lung cancer following a five year battle, after being exposed to asbestos, diesel fumes, and radiation in and around Knoxville, Tennessee (TN), we secured an $8.6 million jury verdict for the family of our client.


The law of wrongful death is different in different states and the FELA law for railroad workers killed on the job also provides for damages different than the state law of VA, so you need to call an experienced Virginia wrongful death attorney, if you are the survivor of a fatal on duty accident.


DM

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