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Mines are well-known as incredibly dangerous work environments that need to be carefully monitored and maintained in order to protect the safety of the workers inside. From cave collapses to explosions, serious mine accidents affect hundreds of employees every year throughout the nation. A slew of fatalities and injuries are caused every year by preventable accidents that should have been caught by managers within mine organizations.

The estate of a drill operator killed in an East Fairfield Coal Co. mine has filed a wrongful death suit against the company for $1 million, according to court documents. The man was killed when a ceiling collapsed inside the Subtropolis mine, which is owned by the North Lima-based firm. The accident happened in late April of 2011.

The 31-year-old man, who lived in Washingtonville, died after being hit in the chest with a large rock during the early morning hours of April 25, 2011. He had been wearing all of his regulation safety equipment, according to mine officials. The accident was the first such incident in the company’s history.

Court documents show that the administrator of the man’s estate has requested a jury trial. The suit seeks more than $25,000 in compensatory damage payments, along with $1 million in punitive damages.

The suit claims that adequate roof bolts had not been installed to protect the miners at Subtropolis, which caused the deadly collapse. The estate’s administrator has also declared that the mine company breached their duty to keep their workers safe and healthy by violating health and safety procedures.

An inspection by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration showed that the site had not been properly evaluated before full-fledged work began in the mine. The area where the rock fell had not been correctly bolted, and it had not been examined by a trained management designee before the work began.

Source: Salem News, “Wrongful death lawsuit filed against East Fairfield Coal Co.,” April 27, 2012

Source: Vindy.com, “Mine owner sued for more than $1 million,” April 26, 2012