Underground mine workers in California are sure to be aware of the dangers they are exposed to on a daily basis. It would only be natural for their families to experience anxiety whenever their loved ones are at work. Although employers are required to provide safe working environments and ensure the compliance of safety rules, workplace accidents are regularly reported in the media.
Two families in another state recently received those dreaded calls to inform them that their loved ones were involved in accidents at their workplace. The two men were killed in coal bursts that occurred while they were on duty. Coal bursts are known to occur during the very dangerous retreating process.
During the blasting in underground coal mining, pillars of coal are left to support the roof of the mine. When work on a coal seam is complete, the dangerous retreating process starts. During this process, the supporting pillars are mined. In this accident, the removal of a roof support caused the downward pressure from the ground above to force shooting coal beneath -- hence, the name coal burst.
The specific mine, in West Virginia, is reported to have a troubled safety record. Families in California who have lost loved ones in workplace accidents may wish to enlist help to pursue claims for benefits through the workers' compensation insurance fund. In the event of workplace fatalities, the next of kin of the deceased victim is typically covered by compensation for end-of-life expenses, along with a portion of lost wages and survivor benefits.
Source: Alabama Public Radio, "2 Die In W.Va. Mine With Troubled Safety Record", Howard Berkes and Anna Boiko-Weyrauch, May 13, 2014