National Miners Day, which occurs yearly on December 6, was created to pay tribute to those who sacrifice their lives and potentially their health working in mines. Since there have been mining tragedies in the past, the U.S. government established the U.S. Bureau of Mines.
Even though National Miners Day was not officially recognized by the U.S. government until 2009, it was observed by miners on that day for more than a century before, starting in 1907 to commemorate a mining disaster that occurred in West Virginia where more than 350 miners died after an explosion in the mines.
Steps to Enhance the Lives of Miners
The U.S. Bureau of Mines was created to address the safety and health of mining workers and also to study the environmental impact of mining. This bureau was the foundation of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) which is a national program that focuses on:
- Improving mining ventilation
- Mining and mining processing machine safety
- Improving illumination while mining
- Emergency preparedness in mines
- Monitoring and controlling dust and toxic substances in mines
- Preventing mine explosions
Each of these areas is important to protecting the health and safety of mine workers. Many mine workers suffer from lung diseases as a result of breathing in coal dust in the mines. Some of the illnesses workers suffer from include black lung, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, and emphysema. Education for miners regarding these diseases is crucial since progression can be halted or slowed down with early treatment.
Through the NIOSH Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program, miners can receive regular medical examinations at no cost. This is a mobile clinic that travels to areas convenient for miners. They can receive screenings that will help provide critical information regarding lung health. These screenings include blood pressure screenings, chest x-rays, and pulmonary function testing. This information, in conjunction with the miner’s health history and respiratory questionnaires, provides the information that medical providers need to better assess the health of miners. It is important to note that also through the NIOSH program, all coal miners in the U.S. are required to get a free medical examination even before they start working in mines.
Workers who work above ground with other types of materials are also susceptible to breathing problems, such as those who work with industrial minerals, metal, stone, sand, and gravel. Breathing problems for those who cut granite and other types of countertops for home kitchens have also become more widely known. Mining can also include working with salt, gold, silver, copper, and steel.
Vineland Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Help Workers Who Suffered an Occupational Illness at Work
If you suffered an occupational illness at work, the Vineland Workers’ Compensation lawyers at DiTomaso Law can evaluate any claims you may have. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Camden County, and Vineland. Call us at 856-414-0010 or contact us online for a free consultation.