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Agencies allege mining company violated safety rules

West Virginia mining officials stated that a mining company seriously violated safety rules following the death of two workers in a coal mining accident on May 12. It was the second accident in one of Patriot Coal's mines in less than a week. No one was reported injured in the first accident at Brody Mine No. 1, which the mining company did not report to authorities.

The first accident was the result of a coal burst that occurs when a support structure inside a mine collapses and spews coal everywhere. A worker was buried in coal up to his waist but was otherwise uninjured. An assistant foreman later reported finding cracks in the roof and told a supervisor the area was not safe to mine. Three days later, two men were performing an operation known as retreat mining, a process which involves purposely collapsing the roof in order to get more coal. Another burst occurred, dropping approximately 4.5 feet's worth of coal.

State and federal mining agencies are investigating the accidents. A federal official called the mining company a pattern violator because of its many serious safety violations. A company representative declined to comment on the accidents.

West Virginia coal miners who suffer injuries or die in workplace accidents may be covered through the state's workers' compensation program. In instances such as this, surviving family members may be eligible for compensation for the loss of their loved one. This compensation usually includes a lump sum payment toward the worker's burial expenses. It also can include compensation to the surviving spouse and minor children if the worker was supporting a family. An attorney may work to ensure that claims are filed in a timely manner.

Source: Trib Live, "State cites Patriot Coal in W.Va. mine accident Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6883532-74/coal-mine-report#ixzz3EuazUhLt Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook", September 29, 2014

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