Understanding the dangers West Virginia coal miners face on the job

Due to the nature of their jobs, West Virginia coal miners face numerous hazards in the workplace, which may lead to serious injuries or death.

Although vast strides have been made in improving safety, coal mines in West Virginia and elsewhere remain a dangerous working environment. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 11 miners were killed on the job in 2015. During that same year, many more suffered serious injuries. In order to help protect themselves, it is important for workers in the coal mine industry to understand the types of dangers they face on the job.

Cave ins

Due to the nature of the job, employees in the coal industry must often work deep underground in tunnels and mines. A support system failure, explosion or any other number of factors may result in cave ins. These types of coal mine accidentscould lead to workers being trapped underground with little or no air supply. They could also be struck, trapped or crushed by debris.

Poor air quality

The quality of air in their working environment is not ideal for coal miners. Breathing in dust, specifically coal dust, could cause a range of respiratory problems, including the development of black lung disease. WebMD points out coal mine workers are more likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic bronchitis as a result of inhaling coal dust and having it accumulate in their lungs. Additionally, workers could be unknowingly exposed to dangerous chemicals or gases in coal mines.


It may seem minor when compared to the other occupational hazards that coal miners face. However, noise is a common injury concern for workers in the coal mine industry. Near constant drilling and the use of heavy machinery make mines very noisy places. People may get used to the loudness of their work environment over time, but prolonged exposure could cause permanent hearing loss, ringing in the ears, difficulty concentrating and sleep problems, among other issues.

Heavy loads

Carrying heavy loads, repetitive shoveling, and working in tight or unusual spaces may put pressure on workers' backs. Consequently, musculoskeletal injuries, including sprains and strains, are common among coal miners. As a result of these types of injuries, they may require physical therapy and other medical treatment, as well as time off of work or lightened duties.

Working with an attorney

When they are injured on the job or as a result of their working environment, West Virginia coal miners may be entitled to workers' compensation. However, the process of obtaining these benefits is not always straightforward, which may further complicate an already challenging situation for injured workers. Thus, people who have suffered occupational injuries may benefit from obtaining legal representation. A lawyer may help guide them through the claims process and ensure their rights are protected.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:Do I have to pay for hiring experts, depositions, and other expenses of getting my case to trial?

A:At Cyrus & Adkins, we will advance all costs necessary for the development and presentation of your case. In the event of a successful recovery, whether by settlement or verdict, these necessary costs and expenses are reimbursable to our firm.