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The coal mining industry is facing one of the most difficult years it has had in history, as the year’s death toll has already reached 43. This is the highest number of deaths resulting from coal mining accidents in more than a decade, according to an article in The Daily Athenaeum Interactive of West Virginia.

Apparently these worksite injuries and deaths occur more often during the winter months. The colder, dryer air makes it harder to control coal dust and methane gas, which are two of the leading causes of mine explosions.

The most recent accident that resulted in a death was on Monday in a West Virginia mine, bringing the total number of mining fatalities in that state alone to 22.

New state and federal mining safety rules have made safety a priority in mines.

”What’s maybe different from past winters is that surely there can be no question about overall complacency,” said Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association. ”This industry, I can tell you, is very, very concerned about safety and to an extent it’s dominating conversations in a lot of industry councils, so I think there’s no question that safety is priority No. 1 going into this winter.”

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