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In 2015, mine deaths fell to new lows

A January 2016 report from the Mine Safety and Health Administration may be of interest to some people in South Carolina. The report looked at the number of mine deaths that occurred in 2015 and showed that they have reached levels that are historically low.

According to the MHSA, 28 mine workers lost their lives in on-the-job accidents in 2015. The MHSA said a small part of the drop in fatalities may be attributable to some coal mine closures as power plants are turning towards natural gas instead of coal. However, the agency said the closures do not account for a large percentage of the drop.

Instead, the MHSA points to mine safety improvements and strong regulatory activity by the agency. The annual fatality rates have been dropping gradually every year since the MHSA was created. The agency's first year was in 1978. In that year, 242 miners died. Miner fatality rates do not include people who work in the oil and gas industry. It includes those who are employed in coal, metal and non-metal mines. OSHA regulates oil and gas industry safety.

The decline in miner death rates is good news and demonstrates the importance of both strong safety regulation and enforcement and oversight. While mines are known to be especially hazardous, all workplaces carry a risk of workplace injuries, accidents and fatalities. Many workplaces are regulated by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration which is a regulatory agency just like the MHSA. Companies that are regulated by OHSA must follow the safety regulations governing their workplaces in order to help minimize the number of accidents. A worker who is injured while working may be eligible to file for benefits under the employer's workers' compensation insurance coverage. Injured workers may want to get help from a workers' compensation attorney during the process.

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Anderson, SC 29621

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