Our Mining Accident Attorneys Can Help
Pennsylvania is known for its coal mines, but coal is only one of the many natural resources mined in Pennsylvania. Noncoal products from Pennsylvania include soil, sand, gravel, clay, limestone, dolomite, shale, sandstone, slate and a variety of other rocks and minerals used in road construction, building construction, agriculture, landscaping and industry.
Many people are aware that coal mining is among the world’s most dangerous occupations. But, mining of noncoal products is also very dangerous. While, OSHA and MSHA regulations and safety precautions have reduced the work-related injuries and deaths among miners in the United States, mining is still listed among the most dangerous professions. Each year, 50 to 60 miners die from on-the-job accidents.
Pennsylvania Mining Accidents
Cave-ins: Mines collapse for a variety of reasons. Land underneath the mine can sink due to underlying geology. Poor construction can lead to the collapse of mineshaft walls and ceilings. Excessive excavation can cause cracks in mine support. And, cave-ins can occur because of the improper use of explosives. A mine collapse can leave injured workers trapped in the dark for days causing both physical and emotional trauma.
Flood: Flooding of mines is a serious risk at both above-ground and under-ground mining sites. Flooding occurs when a mine has inadequate drainage. A heavy flood can also affect the stability of mine walls causing a collapse or cave-in.
Gas explosions: It is natural for gasses to build up in below ground mines. Improper ventilation of methane gas or hydrogen sulfide gas can lead to a mine explosion.
Toxic chemical exposure: A variety of toxic chemicals are used in the processing of mineral products. Chemical exposure accidents can occur when these substances are used in an unsafe manner or stored improperly. All employees who work near hazardous chemicals should receive training in safety procedures.
Electrocution: Workers risk burns, electric shock and other injuries from cables, tools and electrical equipment used in mines. The danger is greatest when the mining environment is damp or there is standing water.
Fires and explosions: Coal is flammable and coal dust can spontaneously combust causing mine fires. Faulty electrical wiring, methane, gas leaks and chemical spills can cause fires and explosions in all types of mines. Blasting accidents can also cause serious injury, including burns and injury from flying rock.
Dust: Blasting and drilling in mines creates a very fine mineral that can accumulate in the lungs causing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, pneumoconiosis, fibrosis, or scarring of lung tissue. If the dust contains silica or quartz, an especially dangerous condition called silicosis can develop.
Radon: Radon is an odorless radioactive gas that produced inside the Earth. Radon is released from the Earth during mining; long-term radon exposure can lead to lung cancer.
Welding fumes: Mining welding fumes consist of vaporized molten metal. Long-term excessive exposure can result in pneumoconiosis, respiratory tract irritation and systemic poisoning.
Mercury: Mercury is a heavy metal that is naturally present in some types of ores. Mercury poisoning can occur when workers absorb mercury through the skin or breathe in dust. Even a small amount of mercury exposure can cause loose teeth, bleeding gums, mouth ulcers, weakness, headaches, tremors, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and heart problems.
Noise: Mining is a noisy job. Constant exposure to the sounds of rock crushers, drills, engines and other mining equipment can cause eardrum rupture or short-term or permanent hearing loss.
Equipment accidents: Miners may be injured in accidents involving excavating equipment, heavy drills, forklifts, conveyor belts, backhoes, mine cars and other heavy equipment. Defective tools can also cause injury.
Heavy loads: Heavy lifting and repetitive motion can cause back, shoulder, hip, and knee injuries.
Slips and falls: Slips, trips and falls are the most common cause of injury in any workplace. Mines are no exception.
If You Are Injured in a Pennsylvania Mining Accident
Mining is dangerous work, therefore it is important that employers and subcontractors follow all safety regulations and that workers receive the training necessary to stay safe. If you are injured in a mining accident, you are eligible to apply for Pennsylvania workers’ compensation. However, you may qualify for additional benefits if your injury was caused by third party negligence, defective machinery, an OSHA violation, or if your employer knowingly and deliberately put you in harm’s way.
If you have been injured in a Pennsylvania mine accident, we urge you to contact Ostroff Injury Law for a free consultation. If you tell us your story, our mining accident attorneys will advise you of your rights and tell you if you have a third party claim.
Ostroff Injury Law has represented injured workers in Pennsylvania for over 25 years. We are known for getting results, even when other lawyers would give up. Learn how we can help you.