Health and Safety Should Always Be a Priority

by | Mar 14, 2012 | Legal Advice

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Mining has always been one of the most dangerous vocations, and the accident last year at the Upper Big Branch mine tragically illustrated that fact with the death of several workers and injuries to numerous others. According to Pittsburgh Business Times, the accident has resulted in the largest ever settlement in a mine disaster. Alpha Natural Resources bought Massey Energy, which ran the mine at the time of the accident in January and has since agreed to the $209 million settlement. Eighty million dollars of that settlement will be spent on safety measures and equipment at Upper Big Branch and other mines owned by Alpha. Forty-eight million will be used to establish a research trust that will fund research in mine safety that will be used by other mining companies at a training facility that Alpha is required to build.

The safety measures that Alpha must put into place include:

  • A digital monitoring system to observe methane gas levels and ensure adequate ventilation
  • Installation in all underground mines of monitoring equipment for explosive concentrations
  • Rock dusting equipment to further combat explosion hazards
  • Installation of oxygen cascading systems to keep miners safe in the event of a serious accident

That Alpha Natural Resources agreed to this settlement is hopefully a sign of a commitment to keep workers safe and to provide adequate compensation for the workers and families that were affected by last year’s accident. However, the fact that such a settlement had to be arrived at is illustrative of the fact that not all of the appropriate safety measures or equipment were in place prior to the accident. The loss of human life is always tragic, but the preventable loss escalates such tragedy exponentially.

The Upper Big Branch mine disaster is also a good reminder that whenever someone is injured on the job, a workers compensation lawyer should be contacted. Not all companies or insurance carriers are immediately ready to provide just compensation when workers are injured at work. Sometimes it takes the help of an experienced lawyer to get the results to which a worker is entitled. A skilled workers compensation lawyer understands the in and outs of both the legal arena and the medical field and will do everything necessary to ensure that the worker receives justice. Furthermore, a qualified lawyer will also know if there might be more than one responsible party and will endeavor to make sure that everyone who is accountable is brought to justice.

Mining is indeed a dangerous profession; however, it is not only miners who suffer injuries as a result of their work. If you’ve been injured while at work, you need the advice and help of a Pittsburgh area lawyer to make sure that you are treated fairly. Contact a workers compensation lawyer today.

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