Industrial Accidents: Coal Mining, Gas Wells, and Construction

Opportunity strikes in West Virginia in a number of ways, and citizens rise to the occasion. Over time, minor business operations can incorporate to become major industrial leaders. Transforming a lucrative venture into a big business does not happen overnight or by accident—or does it?

The top industries in regions of West Virginia are coal mining, gas well drilling, and construction. Occupations in all of these industries come with their share of risk. Because the stakes can be high, coal mining, drilling gas wells, and construction often pay high salaries to workers willing to do these risky jobs every day.

High-Risk Jobs Can Mean Higher Salaries and Turnover

Coal mining, gas wells, and construction industries can also experience a lot of employee turnover. With each group of new workers comes the added challenge of training them on safety protocols for various aspects of the job site. There are agencies that have oversight of these more hazardous industries:

  • Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

These agencies keep track of liabilities, especially matters relating to safety. Worker safety, however, need not take second place to profit. When industries work consistently to keep workers safer, everyone wins. When safety factors become hazardous, companies and employees alike seek legal help.

What are some of the top issues facing each of these top industries in the Mountain State? At Fox Law Office, we see the direct effects of industrial accidents on the lives of clients who seek our services. Let’s take a look at these key occupations to discover the types of safety violations that can lead to industrial accident liability.

Accidents in the Coal Mining Industry in West Virginia

It is not surprising that West Virginia’s leading industry, coal mining, is also its leading activity for industrial accidents. The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 has improved mining operations over the last four decades. MSHA maintains data on the types of industrial accidents prevalent in the underground and surface mining industry, including:

  • Material Handling
  • Machinery/Hand Tools
    Burn Injuries
  • Powered Haulage
  • Crush Injuries
  • Longwall/Roof Falls
  • MSHA/Safety Accidents
  • Slips, Falls, and more
  • Wrongful Death

While the Mine Act has reduced the number of mining disasters and fatalities, it has not eliminated mining-related accidents. The MSHA does sanction companies who fail to adhere to safety protocols. Despite this enforcement of liability, workers in the coal mining industry still require legal intervention to uphold safety rights on behalf of themselves and their families.

https://www.cdc.gov/NIOSH/mining/UserFiles/works/pdfs/cottf.pdf

https://www.msha.gov/about/history

Gas Well Industry Accidents and Injuries

The gas well industry is another high-stakes activity in the state. In obtaining gas from an underground well, a company will inject substances to force gas to rise to the surface for collection. This process, known as hydrofracturing or “fracking,” is fraught with safety hazards. These dangers include industrial accidents such as:

  • Vehicle Collisions
  • Explosions and Fires
  • Falls
  • Confined Spaces
  • Ergonomic Hazards
  • High Pressure Lines and Equipment
  • Electrical and Hazardous Energy
  • Machinery

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/oilgaswelldrilling/safetyhazards.html

Workers in the gas well industry risk hazards of explosions and fires due to flammable gases from several sources in and around the well. Ignition of these gases can also come from multiple causes. OSHA and NIOSH both research and track data on this type of work-related injury and illness.

These agencies make recommendations to prevent industrial accidents and improve worker safety. As with the mining industry, knowing how to prevent accidents in the gas well industry does not remove all risk. An industrial accident lawyer must often step in to help ensure the rights of an individual worker, or their grieving family, after an accident.

Building a Case for Construction Industry Accidents

Our last peek into industrial accidents is the construction industry. Like coal mining and gas wells, workers in the construction industry can find their share of hazards on the job site every day. Construction workers do not have to be erecting a skyscraper to encounter risk from falls, machinery, and more. The prevalent perils related to building, known as “the fatal four” in the construction industry, include:

  • Falls
  • Struck by Object
  • Electrocution
  • Crushes

https://www.osha.gov/data/commonstats#:~:text=Construction’s%20%22Fatal%20Four%22&text=The%20leading%20causes%20of%20private,and%20caught%2Din%2Fbetween.

For the year covering October 1, 2017, to September 30, 2018, OSHA reported these top 10 most frequently cited safety violations:

  • Fall Protection
  • Hazard Communication
  • Scaffolding
  • Respiratory Protection
  • Control of Hazardous Energy
  • Ladders
  • Powered Industrial Trucks
  • Fall Protection – Training Requirements
  • Machinery and Machinery Guarding
  • Eye and Face Protection

Construction-related injuries and deaths continue to occur across the state. While every job site may do its best to promote safety, the truth is that under particular circumstances, accidents can and do take place. Given the risks involved, both employers and workers must do everything in their power to promote safety. Anything less can invite disaster.

Rely on the Industrial Accident Lawyers at Fox Law Office

After an injury in an industrial accident, you need a strong lawyer to stand up for your rights. As one of the leading industrial accident lawyers in West Virginia, Fox Law Office is ready assist you. Whether your matter is a personal injury or the accidental death of a loved one, call to speak with Attorney Jamie Fox without delay.

You can rely on the experience of Fox Law Office, PLLC, for coal mining, gas wells, and construction accident matters. We work hard to seek maximum compensation while protecting your rights. We get results for our clients, to help see them through difficult times when their lives are altered after an industrial accident.

For a convenient phone consultation with our attorneys to discuss your industrial accident, call Fox Law Office toll-free at 1-855-324-3684. You may also contact us online for a prompt response. Revisit our blog regularly for future updates, and follow us on Facebook.