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Feds: West Virginia Mining Death Could Have Been Avoided

Federal investigators recently concluded a workplace accident investigation that occurred at a Marshall County, West Virginia mine in March, which led to the death of a mine worker. The investigation concluded that the death could have been avoided if the company had taken more safety precautions.

The worker was shoveling loose rocks between the long wall face and the panline at McElroy Coal Co. mine on March 8, when a coal section fell on him. He sustained fatal head injuries and died at the scene.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration investigation determined that the mine operator did not have adequate supports in place for the roof, face and ribs. It also did not have enough procedures and training programs in place to protect miners from injury or death.

A few days before the accident, the MSHA handed out citations to the company for failing to keep a property plan for roof control, and also for not having adequate protections for rock and coal falls from the roof, face and ribs.

There are few jobs with more inherent hazards than coal mining. That said, men and women who work in such tough conditions should at the very least be assured that their company is doing all it can to ensure their safety on the job. It is truly tragic to us when a coal mining company fails to live up to its safety obligations.

It should be noted that this mine has been cited for many safety violations in the past. It received 976 citations in 2014, and 514 in 2015. Another fatality occurred at the same company in 2013. This is information that could prove to be extremely important if the family chooses to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the mining firm.

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