Increased coal production is accompanied by greater risk

Coal miners in West Virginia and elsewhere are seeing production in the industry increase. However, along with increased production, miners are also experiencing an increased number of serious workplace injuries on the job, including five fatalities in the state from January to August 2017.

A number of these worker injuries and deaths could be preventable with improved safety practices, investigators from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration have found on multiple occasions. Eleven coal miners have died in the United States from January to August 2017. This marks the first increase in coal miner deaths on the job since 2010.

The deaths and injuries also come in a political context as well, as the administration of President Donald Trump has pledged to roll back federal regulations on the coal mining industry. However, existing regulations are not being followed in some cases, including in some of the mines where deaths have resulted from these safety failures. Almost all of the coal mining deaths that have taken place in 2017 involved workers who have been at their current mine for less than a year. This reflects increased production and growing demand from China as well as the inherent danger associated with newer workers at a mine. Coal output in the United States is up 15 percent in 2017, and there are 3.7 percent more people employed in the industry than there were last year.

Even experienced miners can suffer serious injuries when beginning at a new mine, especially if proper safety practices aren't being followed. People who have been injured in mining accidents may want to have legal representation when seeking compensation for the losses that they have incurred.

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