If you work in the mining industry yourself or know someone who does, then you likely know that it’s not easy work — especially coal mining. Coal miners often work long hours in dark, cramped quarters surrounded by explosives, heavy equipment and toxic substances. It’s no surprise that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) considers the coal mining industry to be one of the most dangerous occupations.
The federal agency’s research shows that miners’ risks of getting hurt on the job vary depending on the type of mine they work in and other factors.
What’s the frequency of illnesses or injuries among coal miners?
The most recent data compiled by BLS regarding the mining industry is from 2017. Those statistics show that 10,200 miners working in the private sector suffered nonfatal illnesses and injuries that year. At least 4,800 of those ill or injured miners took several days worth of leave due to their condition, 1,400 of which were coal miners.
Federal government statistics from 2017 reveal that at least 15% of miners who lost their lives that year were coal ones. The incidence rate of on-the-job fatalities is increasing as well. There were seven in 2015. That number increased by 17 by 2017.
Are certain coal miners more likely to suffer injuries at work than others?
The most recent federal data regarding the injury risks that certain coal miners face is from 2007. BLS data from that year shows that at least 28 coal miners lost their lives on the job that year. At least 72% of the decedents were bituminous coal underground miners. Another 14% of them were bituminous coal or lignite surface ones. Anthracite miners had the third-highest fatality rate. Miner injury rates correspond well with fatality ones.
When you’ve been injured in a mining accident, assert your rights
It doesn’t take someone else telling you how unsafe mines can be. You live with those realities every day. All it takes is an explosion, a mine collapse or a significant drop in air quality to leave you with significant injuries. You do have rights if you get hurt or lose a loved one on the job. An attorney can help you learn more.