Wrongful Death Questions Raised by Citations Against Mining Company

An Idaho mine operator says it plans to contest citations and fines totaling $1 million levied by the federal government in the wake of a miner’s death earlier this year, the Associated Press reports in an article reprinted in The Oregonian. The violations that led to the citations, in turn, raise wrongful death questions and are a reminder for us here in Oregon that mine operators and other employers in hazardous industries have, at all times, both a legal and a moral obligation to do everything they can to keep employees safe.

The 53-year-old victim, a 12-year veteran of the mine according to AP, died last April after a cave-in at the place where he and his brother were working, approximately one mile underground. The two “had just finished watering down blasted-out rock and ore in the mine in the Idaho Panhandle before the collapse,” the news agency writes.

The miner’s job involved “drilling holes in a rock face, blasting it to rubble, then carting the debris to the surface to be processed into silver, lead and zinc.”
The news agency reports that the federal report “has not yet been made public,” but that did not stop the company’s president from speaking to the media to reject the four reported citations and accompanying fines. Clearly any company employing people in so inherently dangerous an occupation has a special obligation to do whatever it can to keep its employees safe.

The citations and the criticism the company has encountered in the federal report are reminders to us here in Oregon that mining can be a dangerous business. An Oregon industrial accident attorney can offer victims and their families invaluable assistance in the wake of a disaster, helping survivors to sort through the complexities of state and federal law related to Oregon wrongful deaths and Oregon industrial accidents as a first step toward ensuring that justice is served.

AP via The Oregonian: Idaho company disputes federal citations following miner’s death

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