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Brian, Zwick, Stone & Associates
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Ohio's miners face numerous hazards in their line of work

Every industry comes with certain risks to employees, but some have more serious hazards than others. Ohio miners probably understand that their line of work puts them in harm's way nearly every day.

Perhaps two of the most frightening conditions involve collapse and fire. These dangers can come from a variety of sources discussed below. When these emergencies occur, the devastation can cause serious injuries and death.

The common causes of a collapse

Collapses that occur in mines here in Ohio and elsewhere often happen due to the following:

  • Gases and dust do explode under the right conditions. Coal dust and methane cause the majority of these explosions.
  • The activities that go on in underground mines potentially cause seismic activity. This activity may also occur in surface mining operations.
  • Companies install pillars and timbers in mines to create more stable walls designed to prevent collapse. If not properly secured, a collapse could easily occur.
  • Companies use explosives in many mining operations. In some instances, explosions can cause collapse and flooding.

Anytime a collapse occurs, miners could suffer a variety of injuries, become trapped or die.

The common causes of fire

Preventing and controlling fires is a primary safety concern in mines. Below are the most common sources of fire in underground mines:

  • Coal can spontaneously heat up and lead to fire under certain conditions. The danger comes from high-risk seams or broken coal waste.
  • If bearings on a variety of equipment used in mines fail, it could cause friction that leads to fire.
  • Numerous components of internal combustion engines can lead to fire.
  • Materials smokers use pose a risk to everyone, even those not smoking.
  • Distribution systems and electrical equipment could short circuit.
  • Detonators and explosives pose an obvious risk of fire.
  • Grinding, burning and welding all present a danger of fire.

Fires that start in mines can quickly spread away from the mine under the right circumstances. Workers both in and outside an underground mine could suffer injuries as a result. If you are one of them, you could face a significant recovery period. During that time, you may need medical and other care to facilitate your recovery and return to work. Depending on the amount of time you will be away from work, you may also need help supporting you and your family.

Workers' compensation benefits could cover a portion of the income you lose after an injury. Medical benefits pay for your care related to your work-related injuries. Your situation may also require other benefits such as vocational training or long-term disability.

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