Mining Safety Officials Say Miner Deaths Near Record Low

Officials at the Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA, announced some good news recently: Safety regulations in the mining industry are saving lives, and lots of them. According to preliminary data, a total of 37 miners were killed in 2011.

While 37 mining deaths remains 37 too many, the number represents a dramatic improvement from the 273 fatalities that took place during the first year of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. The lowest year on record for mining fatalities was 2009, when 34 miners died.

Reducing fatal mining injuries and illnesses by more than 86 percent has been no small accomplishment for MSHA, but there remains a great deal of work to be done to bring the number of mining injuries and fatalities to zero. Unfortunately for those who have been injured, killed or lost loved ones as a result of mining safety violations, even the best laws and regulations cannot keep miners safe without the cooperation of mine owners and operators.

Noncompliant Mining Companies Liable to Injured Workers

Mining companies have an obligation to protect their employees by insisting on strict compliance with mining safety regulations at all times. When a mining company fails to observe mine safety laws and miners are injured, killed or become ill as a result, the company may be liable to the injured workers or their families.

Violations of mining safety laws can involve large-scale disasters like explosions, fires and cave-ins, but in other cases liability can arise from subtler safety violations such as inadequate training, improper equipment maintenance or faulty ventilation.

A worker who suffers an injury or illness as a result of a mining safety violation may be able to receive compensation from the mining company to cover medical expenses, rehabilitation and lost income. The surviving family members of miners who have been killed may also be eligible to receive compensation for deaths arising from a violation of mine safety regulations. To learn more about seeking compensation for an injury, illness or death caused by a mining safety violation, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.