Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler

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Family may be entitled to workers' compensation after miner dies

There are different types of jobs all around the state of North Carolina. Many of them are average desk jobs or even fast food. Although the majority of jobs are considered safe, there are an abundance that can pose risk to employees if proper precautions are not met. A miner in another state was killed earlier this year, and it is now known that it was the result of a tunnel not being secure enough to be worked in. His family may be eligible for survivor's benefits through workers' compensation.

In mines such as the one where the worker was killed, there are certain things the employers are supposed to do in order to keep it from collapsing. The findings of this particular mine were that there were not enough bolts in the ceiling to keep it secured. In addition to there not being enough bolts, the ones that were put in place allegedly failed, causing the tragedy.

There are many guidelines set in place to prevent such accidents, but it appears the mining companies failed to execute them. When the accident investigation occurred, it was found that the bolts were not the only thing missing from the safety precautions. There was supposed to be additional support for the roof that was not being utilized.

During the investigation, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration claimed that there were indications this mining tunnel was going to fail. The sides of the tunnel that the miner died in were collapsing -- a dead giveaway for stability issues. The company has since been issued numerous citations.

Had the proper precautions been taken to keep the miners safe, this one may still be alive today. North Carolina employers have a duty to not only ensure the day's work is completed, but for everyone to get home safe. Such tragedies can be prevented, and all it takes is following guidelines. The miner's family may wish to look into a claim for workers' compensation survivor's benefits in order to properly be compensated for their tragic loss.

Source: Bloomberg Business Week, Report: Utah tunnel wasn't secure, worker killed, Paul Foy, Dec. 16, 2013

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