15 Miners Died on the Job in the Past 3 Months but Washington is Cutting Inspections

During the last 3 months, 15 miners have died on the job. Most killed in electrical and powered haulage accidents; other fell from heights or drowned in a dredge. Although the number of miner deaths have been declining in recent years, OSHA failed to target high-risk industries like mining. OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program is designed for “worksites that show excellence in occupational safety and health,” but the audit found that 13% of participating companies had been cited for safety and health violations but were allowed to stay in the program.

Miners are not the only ones affects by these oversights. There were 3 million people injured on the job in 2012 and it turned out that OSHA had failed to inspect the West Texas plant that exploded last Spring and killed 15 people.

The need for inspections might be less urgent if employees were able to report safety violations, but OSHA does not respond to worker complaints or protect them against retaliation from their employers.

OSHA’s budget has been slashed by Washington resulting in the ratio of inspectors to facilities falling from one inspector for every 1,900 workplaces in 1981 to one for every 4,300 facilities in 2012. OSHA can only afford to visit a workplace every 99 years, on average.

Additionally, the Department of Labor but the staff of the Office of Administrative Law Judges by 5% last year, decreasing the number of judges who hear wage disputes and benefits cases. The result of these cuts is long waits for sick or injured claimants and subpar settlements.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured on the job, we can help you receive the benefits you deserve.

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Dear friends and clients,

In furtherance of our firms culture of commitment to always act with compassion, concern and commitment to our clients, community and colleagues, we have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligations while prioritizing health, wellness and safety of all we can. 

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced changes to many lives and businesses in our communities, and around the world. We, much like our neighbors and friends, have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligation to our clients, while also prioritizing the health, wellness and safety of our employees.

Until further notice, our offices will be closed to the public to encourage social distancing and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our team is still hard at work, many from home, and you may still call, email, live chat or video conference us if you or a loved one is seeking legal assistance. As the first law firm to offer our clients secure online access to their case file more than a decade ago, we have always been believers in using technology to make life easier and information more accessible. In these present times it has been a smooth transition for us to continue to offer our clients the same seamless and thorough service that you deserve and are accustomed to.

This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and while we can continue to emotionally support one another through it all, staying home and keeping your distance is vital to the health and wellness of our communities. It does not feel good to break routines, cancel events and retreat from our normal, day-to-day socializing, but let us remember that, in times of strife, prior generations were asked to go to war and we are simply being asked to stay home. Your isolation equals more lives saved, and more time for medical providers to prepare for the treatment of patients battling COVID-19.

When the dust settles, we will join together with a greater appreciation for our lives, local businesses, loved ones and health. Until then, we will continue to offer guidance from a safe distance.

Very truly yours,

Andrew G. Finkelstein and the staff of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP