Coal Miners Earning Workers’ Compensation

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Workers’ compensation benefits have been slowly dwindling over the last few years.

According to, more than 30 states since 2003 have passed laws that reduce benefits for injured workers. These reductions make it difficult for employees to get required medical care and can often become extremely burdensome on themselves and their families.

Some of the largest workers’ comp cuts came from Arizona, California, Florida, Oklahoma, and a few other states. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that a lot of injured and disabled workers do not even enter the workers’ comp system, as too many benefits have been lost.

A coal operations worker in Illinois, Steve Emery, is facing loosing his workers’ comp because Governor Bruce Rauner wants to get rid of injury coverage for disabilities and injuries suffered during the workers’ past. Stating that workers’ comp was designed only for “traumatic” injuries and not for injuries that employees accrue over their working career.

“What the governor is proposing,” said John Burton, a workers’ compensation industry expert, “is to take a lot of cases that have been compensable for the last 50 years and to to throw them out.”

Emery worked for various coal mining companies and after years of strenuous coal operations, his hands began to fail him.

“The doctor said, ‘We’ll have to do surgery and you’ll never work again,” Emery said.

His wrists were nearly completely numb and doctors informed him that he would no longer be able to perform coal operations ever again. After a four-year long battle with insurance companies regarding on the job injuries, he received a workers’ comp of $1,815 a month — nearly one-fourth of what he used to make.

“I lost everything, man,” Emery added. “My whole life changed.”

Working for a coal company can be a great experience, but there certainly are risks involved. If it’s a job that you love and a job that you have wanted or have done for years, you should absolutely continue doing what you love. But it’s extremely important to invest in coal companies that have a solid workers’ compensation program.

The mining sector can be a dangerous and difficult place to work, but if you’re careful and experienced, along with working with a company that provides excellent workers’ comp in the event of an injury, you should have a long and successful career.

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