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Report indicates insufficient mine safety warning measures

Workers in South Carolina and the rest of the nation have the right to work in safe conditions. According to a recent report issued by the Office of Inspector General, federal mine safety officials are not proficiently addressing worker complaints concerning the dangerous conditions that can cause injuries to mine workers.

The report went on to state that there were delays in forwarding information about imminent dangers, which could compromise the safety of miners. It took an average of 47 minutes for mine operators to be notified by one of the coal districts in the Mine Safety and Health Administration about a complaint that was received regarding an impending danger. Five other districts that were evaluated by the OIG had operators receiving notification after an average of 40 minutes.

Also noted in the report was that the six districts had erratic timeline goals for having complaints investigated. Two of the districts did not specify a time and only mandated that the inspections should be completed as quickly as possible. The timelines for the remaining four districts ranged from 10 to 30 days. The OIG asserted that the effectiveness of the program cannot be efficiently measured by the MSHA without consistent timeline objectives.

The OIG also found that the MSHA's call center for reporting hazardous conditions was not staffed with people who were adequately trained. This resulted in 12 percent of call reports with vague information, which could hinder the MSHA's ability to conduct proper inspections.

Workplace accidents are often caused by unsafe working conditions. Employers have an obligation to ensure that they take the necessary steps to provide their employees with safe working environments. An attorney may be able to obtain compensation for a worker who suffered a workplace injury due to an employer's negligence.

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