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West Virginia miners killed in mine with known safety violations

For people who work in mines, trusting that their employers are keeping the mines safe is one of the necessary evils of the job. When the employers fail to keep the mines safe, the workers are put at risk. A recent fatal accident at a mine in West Virginia proves how important it is for mining companies to properly care for the mines and the safety of their employees.

The accident happened at a mine that has had trouble with safety violations. It had the horrible distinction of being a pattern violator, which is a term only used for the worst offenders in the industry. In October, the mine was added to the Pattern of Violations list with 253 serious violations. That designation opened the mine up to more inspections from the federal authorities. It also means that if another serious violation was found, an order to pull miners from the specific area could be issued. That would almost certainly stop operations until the issues are fixed.

The fatal accident killed two miners in what is thought to be a severe coal burst. The miners were in the process of retreat mining when the fatal accident happened. The men were thought to have been pulling down the support pillars behind them to allow the roof to collapse as they tried to get out of the mine.

Brody No. 1, which is where the accident occurred, is a subsidiary of Patriot Coal. That company has blamed the mine's troubles on the previous owners, according to an annual report from last December. While the problems may have started with another company, this company now owns the mine. They should have made sure the mine was safe for employees.

The family members of these two deceased men now have to live without them. They might have to deal with financial difficulties as a result of the wrongful death of their loved ones. Anyone who has lost a loved one because of the negligent actions of someone else might be able to seek compensation to help alleviate the financial difficulties. Knowing how the process works might help when it comes time to decide how to proceed.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Patriot mine where 2 died had history of safety problems" No author given, May. 13, 2014

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