April 9, 2010

4 Miners Still Unaccounted for in Mining Blast that Killed at Least 25

Dangerous conditions continue to prevent rescue crews from finding four missing miners at the Upper Big Branch coal mine. At least 25 miners were killed in what is being called the worst US mine disaster in the last 25 years. The explosion occurred on Monday.

Relatives of those missing have been praying that the miners were able to get to a refuge chamber. However, if the chamber was not activated then the chance that any remaining workers’ survived is slim.

The source of the explosion has not been discovered, but combustible methane gas buildup is often the cause of mine blasts. President Barack Obama has asked federal investigators to issue an initial assessment of what caused the blast.

According to federal officials, Massey Energy, the mine’s operator, received two citations for safety on the day of the mining explosion. Mine Safety and Health Administration records show that one citation was for not properly sealing and insulating spliced cable electricals. The second citation was for not updating maps of aboveground escape routes.

Illinois Mining Accidents

If you were injured in an Illinois mining accident or if your loved one was killed during an explosion or another type of work accident, it is important that you submit your Illinois workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible.

You may be entitled to more than you know. This is where an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation law firm can step in. You cannot sue your employer for Illinois personal injury. By filing a workers’ compensation claim, you are choosing to avail of benefits that you are entitled to under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

Emotional Obama prays for mine blast victims, AFP, April 9, 2010

West Virginia Mine Rescue Resumes, Fire Threat Eases, BusinessWeek/Bloomberg, April 9, 2010

West Virginia coal mine still too toxic for rescue mission, The Christian Science Monitor, April 7, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Massey Energy Company

Mine Safety and Health Administration

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March 26, 2010

Chicago, Illinois Workers’ Compensation: Hand Injuries Sustained on the Job

Most jobs require the use of the hands. Unfortunately, work accidents can result in hand injuries, which are among the most common kinds of worker injuries. Not only do hand injuries cause the worker pain and suffering and can possibly lead to the inability to do one’s job—whether on a temporary or permanent basis—but there is a good chance that the injured worker will incur medical costs, rehabilitation expenses, and other related bills. It is important that you file your Chicago workers’ compensation claim right away.

Common causes of hand injuries at work:

• Machinery accidents
• Crushing accidents
• Lifting accidents
• Tool-related accidents
• Failure to wear the proper safety gear
• Fall accidents
• Repetitive strain from overuse
• Construction accidents

Common kinds of hand injuries:

• Broken bones
• Crushed hands
• Burn injuries
• Cuts
• Bruises
• Fractures
• Nerve damage
• Tendonitis
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Severed hands
• Loss of fingers
• Scarring
• Disfigurement
• Loss of the use of the hand

Considering that the human hand is made up of 27 bones, it is no wonder that there are so many kinds of injuries that can result. Construction workers, kitchen workers, cooks, office workers, railroad workers, workers that engage in heavy lifting, and workers that use different kinds of machinery are just some of the employees that are at risk of injuring their hands while on the job.

Related Web Resources:
Study: Hand Injuries Most Prevalent, Occupational Hazards/Shock Teck, July 2002 (PDF)

Getting a handle on work-related hand injuries, The Fabricator, September 25, 2003

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October 9, 2009

Industrial Accident Kills Worker Who is Crushed in Molding Press

Police are looking into a fatal work accident involving a worker who was crushed in a molding press at Buckhorn LLC on Wednesday night. The machine reportedly was malfunctioning.

31-year-old Toby Hall was in the machine when it was activated. The worker who was operating the machine thought Hall had left to get a tool so he activated the machine.

According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration records, the plant has received nine citations this year. Three of them were “serious” violations.

On Thursday, one worker was critically injured when he fell 130 feet. Jason Redke was on a platform helping secure a spout to the petal “leg” structure used for distributing grain to bins when the weld that held the spout to a crane came loose. The leg collapsed and along with Redke fell into a pile of rubble. During the collapse, another worker, 27-year-old Shawn Babbitt, fell some 30 feet from a bin top. Redke was hospitalized in critical condition while Babbitt was hospitalized in fair condition.

In another fatal work accident, Darrell T. Seiber died today when his coal truck drove off a mountain road. He may have been operating the truck at a vehicle faster than what was acceptable considering the road conditions. Seiber, 48, was a contract driver working for Cox Trucking.

A US Mine Safety and Health Administration spokesperson said that Seiber sustained fatal head injuries when he tried to jump out of the truck. The truck crash is considered a mining accident.

Our Chicago construction accident lawyers represent workers injured in Illinois construction accidents and other industrial accidents. We are also experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys. This means that not only will we work to maximize the recovery you are owed from all liable third parties, but we can make sure your employer fully compensates you for your work injuries.

Workers say unusual break in weld caused man to be critically injured in 130-foot fall at Lake Odessa grain elevator, Mlive.com, October 8, 2009

Worker dies in crash on mine land, Knox News, October 9, 2009

Worker at plant crushed to death, News-Leader.com, October 9, 2009

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May 8, 2009

Providing Coal Workers Totally Disabled Because of Black Lung Disease with Workers’ Compensation

Black lung disease is the name used to refer to a lung disease that can occur when a person has been inhaling coal dust. There is the progressive massive fibrosis (PMF) kind and the coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP). The latter is common among coal workers.

A coal worker can get CWP from working in a coal mine, mining graphite, milling graphite, loading coal, stowing coal, and making carbon electrodes. The more coal dust you inhale into your lungs, the worse your condition becomes because CWP occurs from an accumulation of dust, which can also lead to chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

At first, however, a coal worker may not exhibit any symptoms. However, as time passes and exposure to coal dust continues, the person’s quality of life may deteriorate, especially if there are complications.

The Black Lung Benefits Act exists to make sure that coal miners that have been totally disabled from black lung disease due to their jobs receive medical benefits and monthly payments. It also provides benefits to survivors of coal miners who have died because they were suffering from pneumoconiosis.

Medical services are provided, included diagnostic testing for miner-claimants to determine whether they have the disease. Workers that qualify for medical coverage can avail of office visits, prescription medications, hospital stays, and other benefits.

Workers that have been exposed to coal mine dust, such as coal miners, certain construction workers, and transportation workers, and their dependents can file work injury claims. For more information, visit the Division of Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation page that can be found on the US Department of Labor’s Web site for more information.

Workers' Compensation, Business.gov

Black Lung Disease, Web MD

Related Web Resources:
Faces of Black Lung, CDC

Compliance Guide to the Black Lung Benefits Act, US Department of Labor, January 2001

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April 28, 2009

Chicago Workers’ Compensation Law Firm: Workers Memorial Day Honors People Killed and Injured in the Workplace

Today is Workers Memorial Day. The day is set aside to remember workers who were injured or died in work accidents. According go the AFL-CIO, 5,657 workers died in work accidents in 2007, while over 4 million others who were injured or got sick. That breaks down to about 15 workers killed a day and 10,959 others were injured. However, considering that there are limits to the injury reporting system, this amount is likely a conservative estimate. More likely, about 8 to 12 million workers get hurt or sick each year.

As part of its observation of Workers’ Memorial Day, the AFL-CIO issues its annual report, “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect.” Among its numerous findings:

• 50,000 to 60,000 workers sustain occupational disease each year.
• 5,657 worker deaths occurred because of traumatic injuries.
• $145 billion to $290 billion a year is spent directly and directly on disabling injuries. But again, these costs only take into account injuries reported to employers.
• The report also reveals that Latino workers continue to be the group most likely to risk death while working.
• 937 Latino workers died in work accidents in 2007.

The report says that the Bush Administration neglected to address a number of health problems and safety issues during its eight years and even blocked or took away certain Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Mine Safety and Health Administration rules.

Lawmakers are hoping to implement better laws to protect our workers. Last week, HR 2067 was introduced. The bill calls for tougher safety and health penalties, grants more workers protection by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, provides more worker safety rights, and protects whistleblowers.

April 28 is Workers Memorial Day. The date was chosen because it is also the date that OSHA was created in 1971.

Fortunately, many US workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Workers Memorial Day 2009, AFL-CIO

HR 2067, The Protecting America's Workers Act, Washington Watch

Related Web Resources:
Death on the Job Report, 2008

Mine Safety and Health Administration

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January 15, 2009

Mine Safety and Health Administration Fines Massey Energy Subsidiary for Violations that Contributed to Truck Driver Sustaining Injuries in a Coal Mining Accident

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has ordered a Massey Energy subsidiary to pay a $180,000 fine for violations that may have led to a worker sustaining injuries during a coal mining accident. The worker suffered neck and head injuries when part of a highwall collapsed and his truck was partially buried.

Richard Stickler, the director of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, says Massey’s subsidiary, Highland Mining, ignored the loose and cracked rock that was over the haul road and did nothing to protect truck drivers at the Freeze Fork Surface Mine. Massey, however, plans to contest the fine. Following the work accident, the truck driver’s injuries were examined at the hospital. He did not need time off from work to recover.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the coal mining industry has a higher incidence rate for illnesses, nonfatal injuries, and deaths than the entire private sector.

In 2006, there were 4,600 work-related injuries and illnesses. Common coal mining injuries:
• Fractures
• Strains and sprains
• Exposure to chemical substances
• Injuries from falling objects, including falling coal

Common causes of coal mining deaths:
• Transportation accidents
• Explosions
• Fires
• Contact with equipment and objects
• Exposure to toxic substances
• Machinery accidents

Coal mining workers that were most likely to get hurt included:
• Transportation workers
• Construction and excavation workers
• Industrial machinery mechanics
• Mine roof bolters

MSHA fines Massey unit $180,000 for W.Va. accident, Forbes, January 15, 2009

Coal Mining Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities in 2006, Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 27, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Mine Safety and Health Administration

County Coal Map Series, Illinois State Geological Survey

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