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MSHA says fatal work-related accident in coalmine was preventable

The lives of coal mine workers in Illinois and elsewhere who have to share their workspaces with 65-ton machines will always be at risk. The Mine Safety and Health Administration underscored the importance of compliance with safety regulations in a recent report after investigating the death of a mine worker in a neighboring state. Federal investigators determined that the employer was aware of the hazard that caused this fatal work\-related accident, but failed to address it.

According to MSHA, the workers carry remote-control devices that activate warning sounds and lights if they enter the danger zones near the massive machines. However, the company apparently failed to provide ways for the employees to attach the transmitters securely to prevent dropping them. This seems to be what led to the death of the 36-year-old employee last January.

Reportedly, co-workers and a supervisor said they witnessed the transmitter falling out of the pocket of the worker. While moving one of the massive continuous-mining machines, the worker got too close to it. His transmitter that would have automatically turned off the machine if he got too close to it was on the floor at the time, and the 65-ton machine pinned him to a wall.

Sadly, this worker did not survive the work-related accident. Illinois families who have gone through such traumatic losses of loved ones after suffering fatal on-the-job injuries may seek financial assistance to help them cope. The workers' compensation insurance program for the state offers death benefits to help surviving family members with the high costs of end-of-life arrangements and the sudden loss of income.

Source:, "Crushed Kentucky Miner Not Wearing Safety Device", Dec. 22, 2016

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