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Mining fatalities continue to decrease

While many professions can be risky for North Carolina workers, mining is viewed as one of the most hazardous industries throughout the nation. Safety standards are developed and monitored by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, a federal agency that was first created in 1978. During that year, 242 miners died on the job. Statistics for 2015 demonstrate a significant reduction in the number of mining deaths since that inaugural year of MSHA oversight.

One of the factors that could be connected to the 2015 results is the fact that the mining industry is facing difficulties because of the transition from coal to the use of natural gas in many power facilities around the country. While natural gas is a cheaper source of fuel, this has resulted in an economic setback for mining companies, and many mines were closed during 2015. However, the MSHA believes that safety improvements have contributed to a dramatic improvement in the industry as well.

A 2010 explosion in West Virginia that took the lives of 29 coal miners triggered the launch of specialized inspections by MSHA. The agency now uses these inspections to address serious issues in mines that are deemed to pose significant dangers. Additionally, improved regulations have been used to address the needs of locations that have consistent violations of safety standards. Of the 28 fatalities recorded during 2015, only 11 were related to accidents in coal mines. The others were in metal and non-metal mines.

People who are injured in connection with a dangerous profession such as mining or construction could deal with long-term or permanent consequences. Their workplace injuries should be covered by workers' compensation for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment and dealing with the recovery process. In some cases, there could be pressure by an employer to return to work before the injured person is well enough to do so. Legal advice may be helpful for handling such situations.

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