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MSHA increases enforcement after three miners die in one day

In response to the deaths of three miners on Aug. 3, the Mine Safety and Health Administration is strengthening its enforcement and safety training efforts in Pennsylvania and across the nation. The miners were killed in three separate incidents in Virginia, North Dakota and Nevada.

According to MSHA, the incidents involved a Virgina plant operator who died when a silo split and buried him under sand and stone dust, a North Dakota miner who was killed after being engulfed by a stockpile at a sand and gravel mine and a Nevada miner who was hit and killed by machinery at an underground gold ore worksite. An official for MSHA said five miners have died in the past month alone, and the deaths on Aug. 3 marked the first time three miners have died in a single day since 2002.

MSHA said it will immediately beef up its inspection schedule with an emphasis placed on violations that commonly lead to mining fatalities. Federal inspectors will conduct what are called "walk and talks" with mine employers and their workers in order to provide education on the best methods to prevent miner deaths. According to the agency, there were 29 deaths at metal and nonmetal mines in 2014. To date, there have been 15 deaths in 2015.

Most Pennsylvania employees are covered under workers' compensation insurance. This insurance provides certain benefits, including the payment of medical expenses, in the event a worker is injured on the job. Some injured workers find it beneficial to work with a lawyer when preparing their workers' compensation claim to ensure all required documentation is provided. A lawyer may also be able to help a worker appeal a claim that has been denied.

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Gregory R. Gifford
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