What Is The Most Common Accident in the Mining Industry?

mining accidents

Mining is easily one of the world’s most dangerous professions and has been since the existence of the industry. There are multiple types of mining for various materials, which means multiple types of mining accidents can occur. If you or a loved one was injured in a mining accident, it is important to understand your legal rights, what to do, and what kind of compensation may be available. 

Mining Accidents in The United States

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, approximately 230,000 miners work across 11,500 metal/nonmetal mines in the U.S., while 64,000 work in the nation’s 1,000 coal mines. Safety is a huge component of mining regulations.

Increased incident reporting has helped determine areas where the industry can make improvements through regulations and education. Despite these efforts, accidents do still occur. This list of mining accidents reflects some of the most common ways that mining accidents happen. 

Methane and Coal Explosions

Methane is a highly explosive gas that gets trapped between layers of coal. An accidental spark from tools and equipment could be enough to ignite this gas and cause an explosion.

These types of explosions can trigger coal dust explosions. Not only do explosions pose a danger to the structural integrity of the mine, they can also cause harm to miners because of coal particles entering the respiratory system. 

Blasting Accidents

Mine blasting involves using explosives to break up rock. Anytime explosives are involved, there is the potential for something to go wrong.

Some potential hazards include being struck by rocks that project farther than anticipated, premature blast detonation, mine-induced seismicity (shifting of rocks much like an earthquake), and partial detonation which leaves the remaining explosives planted like a landmine. 

Mining Machine Accidents

There are a lot of ways that misuse of mining machines and other equipment can result in injury. For drivers, collisions with other heavy equipment or machinery can be a serious problem. Mining machine accidents are especially dangerous because, in a battle of man versus heavy machinery, the machinery often wins. 

Coal Stockpile Collapse

These coal mining accidents are specific to the coal industry but are not unheard of in other mining industries. When a stockpile of coal collapses, it could potentially bury a person or equipment, depending on its size. This could cause injury or even death. 

Other Common Mining Accidents

There are many other ways that miners can be injured during the course of work. These may include:

  • Roof collapse, 
  • Runaway mining cars,
  • Illnesses from mining,
  • Longwall shed collapse, and 
  • Lack of safety equipment. 

Mining is an inherently dangerous job, but if you are injured at work or while working in the scope of employment, you may have legal remedies to help you recover. 

Total Accidents by Year in the Mining Industry

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has been compiling a yearly analysis of mining accidents since 1983. These statistics can also be broken down by mining sectors including coal, metal, non-metal, stone, sand, and gravel.

They can also be separated by surface and underground mining. Here are a few interesting years that reflect the progression of total accidents by year in the mining industry:

  • 1983 – 14,928 injuries;
  • 1989 – 21,485  injuries;
  • 1992 – 17,236 injuries;
  • 1995 – 13,817 injuries;
  • 1999 – 10,984 injuries;
  • 2004 – 8,139 injuries;
  • 2009 – 5,945 injuries;
  • 2015 – 4,517 injuries; and
  • 2019 – 3,926 injuries. 

Better technology, equipment, and safety protocols have encouraged a significant decrease from the initial reporting years. 

What to Do if You Are in a Mining Accident

Seek immediate medical attention if necessary. You should then report the accident and injury to your employer. Depending on the circumstances of your injury, you may have a choice between filing a workers’ compensation claim or a lawsuit. 

The severity of your injuries greatly impacts how much compensation you may receive for your mining accident. It is very important to keep track of all of your expenses related to the accident. In many cases, you can recover the cost of missing work, medical expenses, and loss of future wages if you are or become disabled.

If you choose to file a lawsuit, you could also receive compensation for pain and suffering. 

Should You Hire an Attorney?

Each mining accident is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to seeking recovery. Platte River Injury Law has the professional experience and expertise to evaluate your case and help you determine the best course of action to get the compensation you deserve.

Our team thrives on taking the extra time to understand your situation and answer all of your questions throughout the process. Contact us to schedule your case consultation.

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