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In 2015, mining deaths fell again

Oklahomans may be interested in the fact that mining deaths for 2015 reached new lows, showing continued declines from the late 1970s. According to data from the Mine Health Safety Administration, 28 people lost their lives in mining accidents, fewer than the 29 who died in a single accident in 2010.

As more power companies are turning to other energy sources, such as natural gas, instead of coal, some mines have closed. While mine closures may account for a small portion of the falling fatality rates, the MHSA says the major reason mining deaths are falling each year is because of tight regulatory control and enforcement over mining safety practices.

The MHSA was created and first began regulating the mining industry in 1978. During that year, 242 miners were killed in work accidents. After the disaster in 2010, the government began what they term as special-impact inspections. In these, mines that are considered to be problematic are targeted for repeated and intensive inspections geared towards bringing them current with safety practices. As the oil and gas industry is regulated by a different body, deaths from that industry were not included in the mining death data reported by the MHSA. The data included coal, metal and non-metal mining.

Just like the MHSA regulates mining, other types of workplaces are also regulated, many by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These agencies are meant to help improve safety standards in order to minimize the number of workplace injuries and fatalities that occur each year. Despite their efforts, accidents will continue to happen, and a person who has been injured on the job may want to have the assistance of an attorney in preparing and filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits.

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