Pennsylvania has played a large role in coal mining and drilling for natural gas. The state has 43,025 active gas wells. It also has 39 underground mines and 377 surface mining sites making Pennsylvania the fourth-leading coal producer in the U.S.
Worker safety in these two industries should be a primary concern. While there has been a long history of safety regulations being passed concerning the coal mining industry, regulations concerning drilling for natural gas have been a much more recent affair.
Regulating natural gas drilling can be complex. There are two phases to the process that involve a variety of different activities. This includes extracting the natural gas and then bringing the product to the market.
Wells need to be drilled and pipelines need to be constructed and maintained. There are also several steps required concerning production of the natural gas. And there are a number of federal and state agencies involved in the governing of the process as well. This may result in confusion as to what individual is actually in charge at a well site.
We can only imagine the kind of physical damage that can come about when a worker is injured at an industrial site. Some of these injuries are the result of an accident and others are due to repeated exposure to certain conditions. To prevent accidents and injuries from occurring, attorneys have to hold workplaces accountable.
Despite all the laws in place, accidents are going to occur if the rules are not taken seriously. One union leader emphasized that “it doesn’t matter what the penalties are” if no one enforces the regulations.
Source: Herald-Standard, “Mining has longer history of safety standards than gas drilling,” Susy Kelly, Feb. 21, 2014