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Coal mining deaths nearly double from 2016 to 2017

Some Georgia workers might be interested to learn that coal mining deaths significantly increased around the country in 2017 to 15 from an all-time low of eight in 2016. However, the number still remained under 20 for the fourth year in a row after hitting 20 each year from 2011 to 2013. In 1966, there were more than 200 coal mining deaths, and 100 years ago, there were more than 2,000 annually. The drop in deaths has been attributed both to improved safety and fewer coal mining jobs.

Eight people died in coal mining accidents in West Virginia in 2017. The state often has the highest number of coal mining accidents, and in 2010, an explosion killed 29 miners there. The other 2017 deaths were in Kentucky, where two workers died, and Alabama, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Montana and Colorado, with one death each. Two of the deaths involved machinery, and hauling vehicles were involved in eight of them.

The Obama administration reduced the levels of coal dust to which miners could be legally exposed. This, along with rock dust, is the cause of black lung disease. The Trump administration plans to review those rules as well as the ones that limit exposure to diesel exhaust.

When people are injured in the workplace or become ill as a result of workplace conditions, they may be eligible for workers' compensation. This can be critical for workers and their families during a period of recovery. Some employers might not realize an employee is eligible for workers' compensation, might try to discourage an employee from applying for compensation or might retaliate against an employee for doing so. An attorney might be of assistance to people who are in these situations.

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