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West Virginia still has bad mine safety record

Mining accident and fatality numbers in West Virginia are consistently among the highest in the country, according to a new report. The report released by the Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training provided a number of recommendations to help West Virginia rid the label of a dangerous mining state.

The agency said in the report that mine inspectors should receive more pay to ensure quality staff in the agency, and they should have more authority such as the ability to require mine operators correct safety hazards that inspectors find. The report mentioned allowing inspectors the ability to hold corporate officers accountable if their mines have bad safety records.

Even though comprehensive legislation was passed two years ago, which many had hoped would improve safety in the state's large mining industry, the agency said more needs to be done to ensure the safety of miners and surrounding communities.

The mining accidents that occur in West Virginia can be unforgiving and life-threatening. When someone is working in the mines, they hope all safety inspections have been passed and that their employer has taken all possible steps to ensure workers make it home safely at the end of the day.

According to the report, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. While safety records at some mines remain discouraging, workers should understand their rights in case they are ever injured on the job. Although the mining industry is an inherently dangerous job, miners should still be able to minimize their risk of injury or death by taking certain safety precautions and through comprehensive training provided by their employers.

Source: The Charleston Gazette, "Agency report urges action on mine safety," Ken Ward Jr., Jan. 6, 2014

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