Whether you are a customer patronizing a commercial operation or a worker on the job, you have a right to expect that the environment you are in is as safe as it possibly can be. Owners and operators of facilities have an obligation to make sure that no one suffers an avoidable injury due to safety rule oversight or failure to mark hazards.
Whether such oversight may have contributed to a mining accident this week just east of Pittsburgh is not clear at this point. An investigation by federal and state officials is said to be under way. Two miners suffered injuries as a result of the events. The injuries they suffered were reportedly minor, but considering the details of what happened, things could have been a whole lot worse.
According to a spokesman for the operators of the Tracy Lynne Mine in Armstrong County, the two men were about six miles into the mine and 400 feet below the surface when a large slab of rock fell on them from a roof support. This happened Monday afternoon.
It took about 30 minutes to extricate the injured men from the coal mine. They were then taken to Forbes Hospital. Police say one was treated for a knee injury. The other suffered a back injury. One of them spent the night in the hospital. The other was treated and released. No other information about the men or their conditions is available as this is written.
The mine, operated by Rosebud Mining, was closed immediately after the incident pending an investigation by officials. State officials were expected to wrap up their inspection of the site quickly, but there was anticipation that officials of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration would be there longer.
MHSA records indicate that the mine in question has a rate of non-fatal accidents that runs well above the national average. In 2005, a miner died in a roof collapse at the site.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Investigators probe accident at Armstrong County's Tracy Lynne Mine," Michael A. Fuoco, June 26, 2013