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Twenty coal mines in Virginia reported no injuries in 2018, and the state has not reported a coal mining fatality since 2015, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy reported in a release Thursday.
Virginia has more than 50 active coal mines, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and produces a little less than 2% of the nation’s coal.
The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy recognized five surface mines for their safety records, which included no lost-time accidents for any workers during the past five years, along with the 20 that reported no lost time in 2018.
“In 2018, 25 coal mines worked a combined nearly 2.5 million employee hours without a lost time accident,” Virginia Mine Chief Randy Moore said.
The Virginia mine news follows a University of Illinois at Chicago study released in late April that found that although the mining industry has seen improvements in injury rates, miners who work shifts longer than nine hours have a 32% increased risk of a workplace fatality and a 73% risk of being involved in an accident that causes injury to two or more workers.
The Tennessee Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that a deceased 30-year coal worker’s pancreatic cancer was unproven to have come from exposure on the job and that his widow therefore cannot collect survivor benefits.