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Increased mining inspections after worker fatalities

North Carolina mining companies may be affected by a series of fatalities that occurred in the industry recently. A fatal injury to an 18-year-old quarry worker from Virginia was one of three mining-related deaths throughout the nation on Aug. 3. At least five deaths have occurred in the last month in the industry, adding to the concern over these latest incidents. Officials with the Mine Safety and Health Administration have expressed major concerns about the number of deaths, noting that there are plans to increase education at work locations.

The Virginia man perished when a silo collapsed. At this point, investigators are still endeavoring to identify the cause of the accident. However, it may be many months before the investigation concludes. The MSHA is working to obtain cooperation at this site and the others as it investigates. Additionally, the agency plans to increase the intensity of inspections nationally while also facilitating discussions with workers at their work locations to promote safety practices and preventive strategies for avoiding deadly scenarios.

Mining employees often work in dangerous situations because of large equipment and potentially unstable materials. In both metal and non-metal areas of the industry, it is important to provide education to ensure that workers are prepared for emergency situations. Additionally, it is important for employers to respond promptly to any safety concerns raised by workers or by investigators. As officials working with MSHA bring these types of issues to the attention of those charged with safety education and compliance, a company may become liable for any accident that occur due to failure to take action.

Those who are injured in workplace accidents may be eligible to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits, which can include the provision of necessary medical care and treatment. Many such workers obtain the assistance of an attorney during the process.

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