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Law Offices of Bo Katzakian

Toxic mining residue could warrant workers' compensation

Mining has always been a necessary and prominent in parts of California and across the nation. This high risk profession requires extreme safety measures and state regulated procedures to ensure the safety and well being of those working to procure natural elements from the earth. Workers' compensation exists for miners to provide for them in situations where safety fails and a miner may be physically injured or, more commonly, be exposed to harmful dust or vapors. Toxic mining residue could warrant workers' compensation benefits for employees with immediate or extended injury.

California Iron mines must undergo heavy testing and inspection prior to their operation and continue to receive regular analysis to ensure the safety of its workers. Although this process can sometimes be expensive, the risk of injury can outweigh the cost. Recently, what is meant to be a new iron mine was tested and found to contain asbestos like fibers in grunerite rocks in and around the mine site.

The Federal Mine Safety Administration closely regulates fibrous minerals that have the potential to break away from the rocks, like grunerite, during mining. When a mine is created, it is prepared by applying a combination of water and explosives to blast and form the appropriate venue to harvest iron. Some grunerite has been found to contain the asbestos-like toxicity that has the potential to cause Mesothelioma when released into the air. In addition, wet sulfuric acid releases from waste rock can also be a safety concern for the workers as well as surrounding residents to the work site.

The intricacy of containing toxic vapors in and around an iron mine can require heavy air filtration systems to ensure the safety of the employees. Toxic mining residue could warrant workers' compensation for a miner that inhales harmful dust causing irreversible respiratory damage. A victim of air quality negligence may experience damage immediately or years down the road, prompting them to seek professional assistance to obtain applicable benefits.

Source:, Cost of asbestos controls at northern Wisconsin mine won't be known for a while, Steven Verburg, Nov. 3, 2013

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