New Jersey mine workers face many hazards on the job, and it is important that they evacuate as fast as possible when there is an imminent danger. However, a May 2016 report by the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General said that there are potentially dangerous delays in communication between the Mine Safety and Health Administration and mine operators.
According to the OIG report, it takes around 47 minutes for MSHA’s Region 9 staff to tell mine operators about a complaint of an imminent danger. MSHA’s other five districts take approximately 40 minutes to notify mine operators of an imminent danger. The report stated that these kinds of delays in communication put the health and safety of miners at risk.
The OIG said that the communication lag at Region 9 is likely caused by the intermediate step in the communication procedure. After MSHA receives a complaint, agency staff sends information about the complaint to a field office, and the field office then contacts the mine operator. The OIG report also discussed problems with the timeline for complaint inspections. Two of the mining districts do not have specific deadlines for inspections, and the other four mining districts set inspection completion targets that range from 10 to 30 days.
An accident on the job such as cave-ins, floods and falls can lead to serious injuries for mine workers. The injured victims may want to meet with an attorney to see if they have any options to pursue compensation other than through the filing of a claim for workers’ compensation benefits under their employer’s insurance coverage.