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Pennsylvania mining company has three fatalities in four months

The dangers of the coal mining industry have been underscored by a number of deaths that have occurred in recent months. According to reports, workplace accidents have killed three workers for a Pennsylvania-based energy company in the past four months. Workers for other companies have also been killed, making this year a fatal one for coal miners.

The most recent fatality was that of a 51-year-old man who had been a coal miner for more than 30 years. He began his career in 1981 and had been working at the mine where he sustained severe head injuries at for the past decade, according to officials with his employer. Reports indicate that the 51-year-old man was attempting to put a loaded supply car back on track when he suffered his deadly injuries.

Mine safety officials said that he was using a tool with a long handle known as a slate bar. Typically the tool is used on the walls and roofs of mines to pry material loose. He was using the equipment when it popped loose and struck him.

The Pennsylvania company is considered to be one of the safer employers for coal miners to work for. Officials with the company said that they are working with mine safety regulators and investigators to determine the cause of the incident. The other two deaths associated with the company occurred last month and late last year.

In the more recent of the two fatalities, a gas drilling rig overturned while it was doing exploratory work. During this work, the rig was drilling 30-feet deep and then setting off explosives. It overturned and crushed the worker. This male worker was never publicly identified by the company.

The fatality that occurred last year involved a bulldozer operator who drowned when an embankment of a coal slurry pond collapsed. His body was not recovered for two weeks.

Source: Chem.Info, "Coal Miner Dies from Head Injuries," Feb. 15, 2013

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Gregory R. Gifford
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