Regulations for coal slurries may be revamped as a result of a recent accident. As of four days ago, a bulldozer, with the driver still inside, was missing in the thick lake of a coal slurry.
Slurry is created as part of the coal-mining process, made of dirty water and solids resulting from washing the coal to have it burn more cleanly. Typically, the slurry has been disposed of by pumping it into abandoned mines, or damming it into ponds like the one involved in this case. Recently, another accident occurred in which two pick-up trucks which were driving on an earthen impoundment which runs alongside the water, slid into a West Virginia slurry pond. Two of the workers managed to escape the vehicles, but a bulldozer and its driver remain missing.
According to the president of the West Virginia Coal Association, these structures are known to be dangerous, and so they are routinely aggressively inspected. However, these accidents have occurred in this giant, sludgy ponds. The regulations currently in place date from the 1970s, and are 40 years out-of-date.
Many former miners and legislators have been speaking out as a result of this most recent issue to crack down on these structures to prevent any future accidents or fatalities.
Any injuries sustained in the workplace by employees are covered by workers' compensation. However, in accidents like these, there many be other factors to consider, including negligence that has contributed to the accident. In these cases, there may be other legal options for compensation.
Source: The Associated Press, "Critic questions way coal firms build slurry ponds," Vicki Smith, Dec. 8, 2012
For more information about workers' compensation claims and other legal options, visit our Pittsburgh workers' compensation attorney page.