CONSOL is a mining company based in Pennsylvania considered by many to be among the safest coal-mine operators in the country. Despite a better track record than most, however, CONSOL had three workers fatally injured on the job over a period of four months with two of those deaths occurring in a one-week period.

The last workplace accident of the three happened recently at the Loveridge mine located in West Virginia. Despite the ongoing investigation, the company has already attempted to place fault on the miner in its employ. Mine safety officials reported only that the miner was struck in the head while he was re-railing a loaded supply car with a slate bar, which is a long-handled tool similar to a pry bar. The investigation is considering whether the pry bar was in fact being used to re-rail a supply car.

In the prior week, another miner was killed by an overturned gas drilling rig near the same mine. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is investigating that incident, and several months prior, a worker drowned in a coal slurry pond after the embankment collapsed. Reasons for the collapse are unknown or have not been made public.

Some types of work have inherent risks that no amount of safety precautions can overcome despite employer insistence to the contrary. People work at inherently dangerous jobs to support their families, and they expect the employer to take reasonable safety precautions; they also expect their loved ones to be cared for in the event of a serious injury or death. For those injured on the job, a workers’ compensation attorney may provide assistance with gathering evidence and reaching a fair settlement while ensuring the worker’s rights are protected.

Source: The Exponent Telegram, “CONSOL: W.Va. coal miner struck in head has died,” Feb. 14, 2013