Fatalities Rising as Coal Mine Production Increases

By | August 8, 2017

  • August 8, 2017 at 10:41 am
    Doug Fisher says:
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    IJ: Please help us foster discussion by not blocking posts with no incendiary content that is consistently on-message. I have tried since last night to post a detailed breakdown of the situation in regards to this mine, this fatality, and the bigger picture.

    I thought it may be the links I included to backup my arguments, but I even tried parsing those (ht tp instead of http, as has worked in the past) and I still see nothing after trying 3 times. This is getting ridiculous.

    • August 8, 2017 at 11:15 am
      Andrew G. Simpson says:
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      We have not blocked any comments on this article. Not sure what is wrong.

      • August 8, 2017 at 11:23 am
        Doug Fisher says:
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        just tried for the 4th time.

        I click “Post Comment” and it just loads the page up as if it were posted without anything showing up.

        I will try to cut it in two and see if that works.

    • August 11, 2017 at 2:35 pm
      PolarBeaRepeal says:
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      The bigger picture of the specific fatality is that it isn’t a significant variance from the series of fatalities that occur in dangerous WC classes. The annual count of worker fatalities is relatively low compared to other causes of fatalities. Thus, any ‘spike upward’ can be interpreted by someone with an agenda as a ‘troubling trend’, and ‘due to recent changes’. Yet, a spike downward would be ignored.

      The workers clothes being caught in machinery is partly attributable to the worker, if I read the description correctly. A lose shirt tail, dangling hair, etc. can get caught in any type of machinery with moving parts, used by any manufacturing or mechanical processing business, otherwise thought to be safe or hazardous; old printing presses used by newspapers.

      I have seen more than once your childish comments about posts disappearing or removed, and saw other posts with only 1 or 2 links, and realize now that you were oblivious to websites blocking SPAM comments that include multiple links. Typically, that is done to prevent advertising comments. In your case, it is still a form of SPAM because NO ONE with other duties during a day would have time to read all the articles you link. Others who might wouldn’t bother to read more than 1 or 2 links.

      You are right about one thing: this IS getting ridiculous.

      • August 14, 2017 at 9:12 am
        Ron says:
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        Nice job marginalizing the lives of fellow U.S. citizens. I wonder if you would feel the same way if it was a family member of yours who died due to safety violations or, even worse, less regulations in order to provide higher profits.

        How much additional costs to your or someone you care about’s employer is tolerable to you that would reduce serious injury and death

  • August 8, 2017 at 11:28 am
    Doug Fisher says:
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    4th time’s a charm?:

    Sad stories like this are exactly why we need increased focus on job safety and stricter penalties for companies who violate them. MSHA is just one important governmental oversight that should have stepped in to prevent this horrific accident.

    Doing a little research shows that the small mine where Ray worked, owned by R&C Coal LLC, already owed $92,000 in fines for past violations. Where was the governmental oversight to shut this habitual violator down before it cost someone their life? The operator of this mine, Mark E Daugherty, should be thrown in jail and Ray’s family should receive adequate compensation for their loss of his life and livelihood.

    • August 9, 2017 at 12:09 pm
      Agent says:
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      Doug, are you advocating to get rid of the worthless bureaucracy known as OSHA since they don’t do their job preventing accidents, but just fine companies for non-compliance with safety procedures?

      • August 9, 2017 at 4:37 pm
        Doug Fisher says:
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        In no way am I advocating for that. Instead, they should be given more authority and oversight and a higher budget. They have been hamstrung both in their ability to keep employees safe in dangerous situations and through a lack of funds to cover the need that the country has.

        • August 11, 2017 at 11:54 am
          PolarBeaRepeal says:
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          More money should be spent on LOSS PREVENTION within dangerous companies, not on a Federal Bureaucracy like OSHA.

          • August 11, 2017 at 2:38 pm
            PolarBeaRepeal says:
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            A down vote with no rebuttal reply indicates my point is not (easily) refutable.

          • August 12, 2017 at 1:15 am
            Doug Fisher says:
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            Whoever else downvoted you (I just did to make it two) probably did so because your comment makes no sense.

            Is the government going to give the money to these companies to increase funding on LOSS PREVENTION (that may be an acronym for yours, I am not sure, so I am capitalizing it just in case) or are they just randomly going to have it in their budgets to do so? If so, why wouldn’t they have spent the money on it before?

            You are obviously talking about spending federal dollars, since you are conflating the two expenditures.

            So, let me play along. We kill OSHA and its BLOATED budget (.0141% of the federal budget) and instead, give it to companies to do loss prevention. Okay, so someone has to manage how that money is disbursed and funded.

            Checks need to be made that the Loss Prevention is put into place.

            Other checks ensure that they are then actually performing these Loss Prevention methods throughout the course of their jobs, not just when the plan is put into place.

            Sounds like a Bureaucracy would need to be created to do all of these things.

            Congratulations…you just created OSHA.

            THAT is why you got a downvote. That is why you have two downvotes, for tricking me into wasting my time for you to ignore and miss the point entirely.

          • August 14, 2017 at 9:16 am
            Ron says:
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            PolarBeaRepeal ,

            Assuming you have been honest in stating your insurance experience, don’t employers already have a significant reason to maximize loss prevention in order to reduce their premiums?

            If they did that, and eliminate nearly all workplace injuries and fatalities, I would agree with the elimination of OSHA.

  • August 8, 2017 at 11:34 am
    Doug Fisher says:
    Well-loved. Like or Dislike:
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    The mine was all non-union workers. Studies have shown a sizable increase in injuries and fatalities in mines without union representation. I wonder if these miners who worked in this mine, where conditions were not safe, were afraid to speak up and risk losing their jobs?

    Unfortunately, the cruel joke of the matter is: the organizations that should have the power and manpower to deal with these bad actors, OSHA and MSHA (Mine Safety & Health Administration) are getting their budgets drastically cut next year. So, despite increased production on coal, they are cutting funding to the organization that keeps them in check.

    A commenter in another article yesterday remarked that OSHA was a worthless organization that never prevented an injury. I hope he reads this and can see that, without oversight, companies will operate in dangerous ways without fear of repercussion.

    Apparently, IJ does not like links in posts, since removing those was the only way to get this to post. If you want the data to back up my assertions in these two posts, let me know and I can provide them.

    • August 9, 2017 at 12:31 pm
      Interested says:
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      A prosperous company should welcome regulators and safety checks. Hiring, training, workers compensation, and medical costs are far less profitable than adhering to safety standards. As a country the government needs to do their job at ensuring the overall safety of its citizens. Capitalism only works when regulated because a corporation could care less about the average worker and must be forced to do so.

      (Sorry if the safety requirements are cutting into the massive executive bonuses these corporate employees are getting. The lives of these injured and deceased employees should haunt the stockholders.)

    • August 11, 2017 at 11:56 am
      PolarBeaRepeal says:
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      MULTIPLE links in posts are routinely banned by MOST websites because it is indicative of SPAMMERS.

      IF you can’t make your case with ONE link, don’t bother wasting everyone’s time with multiple references … because volume of articles doesn’t translate to credibility of content.

      • August 11, 2017 at 3:33 pm
        Doug Fisher says:
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        That is an asinine response.

        “Don’t bother wasting everyone’s time by correlating different data points and research with proper sourcing”

        That is what you are saying.

        I myself would rather one person make one informed and informative post with proof than do the bob thing responding 9 times to one string of posts without any proof.

        • August 11, 2017 at 5:05 pm
          PolarBeaRepeal says:
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          Nope. That’s not what I wrote.

          • August 11, 2017 at 5:10 pm
            Doug Fisher says:
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            Regardless, it doesn’t make sense.

            Either I will have to use multiple posts to get my point across so that I can actually source my claims (unlike some posters around here, I like to affirm my assertions with proof), or find a magical website which answers any and all of my points at the same time to avoid having multiple ideas, which may confuse and frighten some readers.

            Sorry that my posts require in-depth reading and cross-referencing. That is the way things work when trying to dispel false notions and outright corruption.

  • August 8, 2017 at 1:47 pm
    Concerned says:
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    Not to make light of this death, or any deaths, but I would be interested to see a comparison in reported injuries sustained by workers involved in renewable energy sources (wind installations, solar panels, etc.) versus coal.

    • August 8, 2017 at 3:45 pm
      Doug Fisher says:
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      It definitely would be interesting to see, for sure. I have to imagine that the incidences wouldn’t be as high, given the inherent danger that goes into the very nature of working in a mine shaft, but you never know with the heights on windmills, the intense heat and electrification of solar farms, the dangers inherent to dams and so on.

    • August 11, 2017 at 11:57 am
      PolarBeaRepeal says:
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      See BLS.gov

  • August 8, 2017 at 2:07 pm
    JC says:
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    Still can’t compete with the death toll by living in Chicago.

    • August 8, 2017 at 2:21 pm
      Doug Fisher says:
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      Even Syria is having trouble keeping up with Chicago at this point. :P

      Let’s stay on topic, though, because no amount of OSHA, MSHA, or even National Guard at this point is going to fix what ails Chicago.

      • August 8, 2017 at 2:44 pm
        Captain Planet says:
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        Right on point, Doug. What’s going on in Chicago stems from socioeconomic roots whereas these miners are facing dangerous workplaces due to lack of regulation or simply owners who ignore them. Stories like this are seriously troubling to me. Last week, I read an article about a girl who was literally scalped when her pony tail was caught in a machine that hadn’t been de-energized. Lock out/tag out, anyone? She shouldn’t have been the one working under that machine. She was a teenage intern and her life is now forever completely altered. It gave us all pause here and has generated senior leadership to generate a white paper to remind all of our insureds and business partners of the need to unite and say, “No more! We can’t simply accept this as the cost of doing business.” But, I guess in the end, at least she still has her life, unlike this miner.

      • August 11, 2017 at 11:34 am
        PolarBeaRepeal says:
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        Wrong. Law enforcement and education system changes will fix some of the problems in Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia…

        OSHA doesn’t need a larger budget. It needs adequate leaders.

        • August 11, 2017 at 3:35 pm
          Doug Fisher says:
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          “Hey boss, I am supposed to go do 50 random checks of these businesses this week, but our budget will only allow me to do 30 of them.”

          “Do the 30 and then send emails to the other 20 to keep their noses clean. I am sure that will work”

          “Thank boss, you are very adequate”

  • August 11, 2017 at 5:14 pm
    PolarBeaRepeal says:
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    Straw Man Arguments are your tool of choice when faced with a problem you can’t resolve.

    I think 50 random checks a week is possible, but why are so many checks needed if their quality is diminished by the limited time for each; i.e. approx 8/10 of an hour ( 8 hr work day / 10 examinations )?

    • August 12, 2017 at 1:03 am
      Doug Fisher says:
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      Feel free to change out week for month or quarter.

      Either way, it doesn’t matter. If they have more work than their budget allows either they won’t be able to cover the same ground, or they will do so at a much less degree of scrutiny, potentially missing hazards and workplace safety violations because of it. Either way, bad situations they can’t catch or verify will become exacerbated and more injuries and deaths will take place.

      If Budget needs to be A to do their jobs effectively, and the government slashes their budget to B, than the difference between the two numbers translates to an increase in injuries. Unless you think companies will take it upon themselves to self-police better because of the budget shortfall for OSHA.

      “Guys, OSHA had its budget cut even with a growing economy, which typically translates to new businesses being organized. And new businesses typically have more injury claims than old businesses, which means we need to police ourselves better because OSHA won’t be out to tell us if we are messing up anywhere.”

      “Will do boss. By the way, did I mention how adequate you are?”

      “You did, but I like hearing it. So please, keep saying it.”



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