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Proposed rules aimed at improving safety for mine workers

Minnesota mine workers may be interested in learning that the Department of Labor has proposed new regulations that are aimed at improving safety in their profession. The proposed rules were released on June 7 and would mandate that mining companies conduct examinations of work sites before mine workers begin working in the locations.

The Department of Labor also is proposing a rule that would require that a person signs and dates a record of examination before the end of every shift. The examination record would include information about all of the areas that were examined, any problems that were identified in those locations and the corrective measures that were taken.

The proposed changes come in an effort to reduce mine-related fatalities. Over a period of nearly five years ending in December 2015, 122 mine workers were killed in on-the-job accidents around the country. According to the Department of Labor, 60 percent of those deaths could have been prevented if the mining companies had followed the 'Rules to Live By' standards promulgated by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, which is part of the DOL. The MSHA currently mandates that an inspection is performed at any time during each shift. The current rules do not say what should be included in the mandated examinations or require that the workers be informed of existing issues.

Most employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance. This insurance is designed to provide benefits to employees who are injured in workplace accidents. The scope and amount of these benefits can be explained by an attorney who can also be of assistance in the preparation of the required claim.

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