Mining employees in Minnesota may face serious dangers in their line of work, but they may appreciate the fact that 2015 was a historically low year for mining deaths in the United States. Statistics are compiled by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, which reported only 28 industry fatalities for the year. This was a decrease of nearly 40 percent from the previous year. Statistics for the mining industry exclude those related to oil and gas.
Numerous mines are reported to have closed during the year, which could have contributed partially to the reduction in fatalities. Coal mining has been significantly affected by a national focus on cheaper fuel options in power plants. Of the 28 deaths during 2015, 11 occurred in coal mine settings. However, representatives of MSHA credit the improvements with better safety efforts in the mining industry, especially in areas that have had repeated problems with safety violations.
Special impact inspections were implemented after a major mining accident in West Virginia in 2010. That incident alone involved 29 deaths because of an explosion and is considered one of the worst incidents in the industry’s history. The CEO of the company involved in that incident was acquitted on some charges related to that event but is expected to serve one year of prison time for conspiracy to violate industry safety protocol.
An individual facing serious safety problems in the workplace might report such issues to supervisors in order to hopefully prevent a serious workplace accident. If safety violations continue to be ignored, reporting to an oversight agency might be necessary. If a workplace accident occurs in spite of an employee’s efforts to bring attention to the matter, legal advice might be appropriate for any employees who have been seriously injured. While the receipt of workers’ compensation benefits typically prevents legal action against the employer, there may be other legal remedies to consider.