Kentucky workers who are employed in the mining industry understand just how dangerous and life-threatening their occupation can be. As such, every person involved in the industry, including the CEO's and top-level employees, should be highly involved in mine safety and health to prevent potentially fatal accidents and diseases.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration, an agency that operates under the Mine Act of 1977, strives to promote healthy and safe workplaces for miners. Over the last 40 years, the MSHA has been working to reduce the number of deaths and has been extremely successful. When the law was enacted in 1977, 311 miners were killed in mining accidents. In 2016 there were only 12 deaths, marking the lowest number of deaths in a single year in the industry's recorded history.
The MSHA is also focused on reducing the number of miners who suffer from black lung disease, which has caused the deaths of an estimated 76,000 miners. The End Black Lung Disease campaign was launched in 2009 and updated in 2010 to reduce the disease through increased training and education. Further, the MSHA increased the number of mine inspections while targeting those who had the most violations. As of 2016, there were no mines that were considered to be chronic violators.
Although there are many invested in making the workplace safe and healthy for miners, injuries and illnesses can still occur. If miners suffer a workplace injury or illness and cannot work as a result, they may be eligible to seek workers' compensation benefits. If the claim is denied, an attorney may represent the employee when appealing the decision.