Mining throughout the state provides nearly 40 percent of all coal production in the United States. Although working in mining comes with inherent dangers, it offers many the opportunity to earn a living and provide for their families.

Mining accidents tend to have catastrophic implications for the workers and their families who are severely hurt or killed on the job. When negligence plays a role in accidents that impact workers’ ability to earn wages, taking legal action may be the only way to hold responsible parties accountable and seek complete compensation for damages.

The Wyoming-based mining accident attorneys at The Fitzgerald Law Firm understand the serious implications of being hurt on the job and work diligently to hold employers and manufacturers accountable when accidents are caused by negligence such as training deficiencies, lack of personal protection equipment, or faulty equipment. Their experience handling mining accidents that stem from all forms of negligence helps workers and their families fight for the justice they deserve.

Mining Accident Statistics

  • According to the most recently available data published by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), approximately 300,000 miners work across 12,500 metal/non-metal and coal mines in the U.S.
  • Despite downward trends in fatalities and serious injuries due to mining accidents over the last four decades, the number of deaths due to work-related accidents in the mining and extraction industries rose from 32 in 2022 to 42 in 2023, the largest spike since 2014.
  • In 2022, there were over 3,400 preventable mining-related injuries.

Common Mining Accidents

There are many scenarios on a mining site that can potentially cause mining accidents to occur. Even as organizations such as the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) press for continued prioritization of safety measures, fatal and serious non-fatal accidents still occur regularly at mining sites.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that the most common cause of fatal accidents in the mining industry concerns the operation of heavy machinery, which accounts for about a third of all mining deaths. Other common causes of mining accidents include:

  • Powered haulage (trucks and vehicles, conveyor belts, mining cars)
  • Slip or fall of a person
  • Electrical
  • Falling, rolling, or sliding rock material
  • Handling materials
  • Operating tools
  • Structural collapses
  • Ignition/explosion of gas or dust
  • Fire
  • Striking or bumping materials or equipment

Underlying Causes Common Mining Accidents

Jobs held in the field remain among the most dangerous jobs in the United States, requiring a depth of training and experience to ensure worker safety. Several underlying causes contribute to common mining accidents.

  • Neglect state and federal operational regulations
    Due to the nature of the work in the mining industry, OSHA requires all miners to complete specialized safety training to recognize health and safety hazards, minimize accidents and injuries, and protect themselves in hazardous and emergency situations. When employees or managers neglect the regulations in place to protect workers, they can be held liable for damages in a mining accident.
  • Insufficient employee training
    In addition to mandated training, employers are responsible for ensuring all workers are fully trained in equipment operation and hold the proper licenses necessary to work competently and safely.
  • Employee overexertion
    Working long shifts with minimal breaks leads to overexertion and exhaustion of employees, making them more prone to accidents and misjudgment. Labor laws require minimum breaks dependent on the industry and job function to ensure employees are able to maintain safety.

When to Contact A Wyoming Mining Accident Attorney

Severe injuries caused by mining equipment, vehicles, and falls can require extensive rehabilitation, and produce chronic pain, emotional trauma, disability, and other lasting long-term effects. When negligence contributes to an accident that causes severe injury, you need to have the most attentive team on your side.

The Fitzgerald Law Firm has represented many miners and their families. One, for example, was injured on the job when a boulder fell from the sidewall and landed on the mining equipment he was operating. The miner suffered a brain injury and paralysis from the accident. The miner and his family sued the mine manager and safety manager for failing to fix the dangerous environment that caused the incident resulting in a $22 million verdict in a jury trial.

This case resulted in the largest monetary recovery for physical injuries ever upheld in the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Contact our experienced mining accident attorneys at The Fitzgerald Law Firm today for a free consultation and to determine the next best steps for your case.