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Long hours increase risk of miner injuries

Miners in New Jersey and elsewhere are more likely to suffer workplace injuries if they work long hours, according to a new study. The study, which was published in the journal BMJ Occupational and Environmental Medicine in April, was conducted by researchers from the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Researchers examined over 545,000 injury reports filed with the Mine Safety and Health Administration between 1983 and 2015. They discovered that 9.6% of hurt miners worked at least nine hours the day they were injured. The percentage was lower in 1983, with 5.5% of miners working a long shift the day they were hurt, and higher in 2015, with 13.9% of miners doing the same. They also discovered that miners who worked nine or more hours a day were at 73% greater risk of being caught up in an incident that injured multiple miners and at 32% greater risk of being killed on the job.

According to the study, other risk factors associated with long work hours included lack of routine, irregular hours, performing certain mining tasks and being on the job less than 24 months. The lead author of the study said he hopes the findings will push mine industry leaders and lawmakers to rethink the risks involved with working longer shifts.

An injured mine employee may be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits through their employer. Before these benefits, which include medical coverage and wage replacement payments, can be dispensed, an application must be submitted. A workers' comp attorney could review a case, help gather the necessary documentation and prepare the claim on an injured miner's behalf.

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