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May 2014 be a better year for mining safety

Workplace safety and mining officials were hopeful last year that 2013 was going to mark a safer year for miners in the U.S. Mining is an economic staple in this country and in Oklahoma specifically. As important as mining is to the market, employers must make safety even more important.

According to the Mining Safety and Health Administration, 42 workers were killed in mining accidents last year. The year before, there were 36 fatalities. Therein lies the disappointment: safety efforts clearly were not enough to prevent worker injuries in the U.S. mining industry last year.

It would be interesting for officials to evaluate why there was a boost in deadly workplace accidents in the industry just within the last few months of the year. Up until then, it looked as though there were going to have been fewer worker fatalities. Of the 42 total worker deaths in 2013, 15 deaths occurred between October, November and December.

Theories aside, what is a fact is that mining workers deserve protection from injury, illness and death. Safety officials report that they will continue efforts to track and improve mining safety processes, as well as inspect mines with histories of preventable accidents and illness. The hope is that this will actually be a year of fewer worker injuries and deaths among U.S. mining workers.

Workers are injured both while underground or while performing surface operations. No matter where or how they get hurt, those who believe that they are victims of unsafe conditions or lax regulations should discuss their cases with a workplace injury attorney in their state.

Source: EHS Today, "Mining Deaths Tick Higher in 2013 After Rough Fourth Quarter," Jan. 7, 2014 

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