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Investigation underway after explosion at B.C. coal mine

Accidents in the workplace that result in injuries require careful investigation to determine the cause of the accident and the source of the injury. Whether the accident is due to a simple oversight on the part of a worker, or the employer failed to comply with safety regulations, employees and employers should have experienced legal counsel to represent them and protect their interests after a workplace accident.

A safety investigation was recently initiated after an explosion at a southeastern B.C. coal mine. The open pit mine is operated by Vancouver-based Teck Resources, and in a statement the company confirmed that three employees suffered second- and third-degree burns.

The employees' injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, though the workers were transported to local hospitals.

According to initial reports, the flash fire was ignited in a dryer building, and the employees who were injured were standing outside the room where the explosion was sparked.

Teck Resources indicated that it had begun an internal investigation, and government inspectors were also sent to the site.

A CBC News report noted that a dryer explosion occurred at the same mine in June 2010. The accident resulted in the mine being temporarily shut down, and four employees were treated for smoke inhalation.

The precise cause of this more recent accident remains to be determined.

Because particularly risky industries such as coal mining are so heavily regulated, it is crucial that employers in these industries cover their legal bases and implement all of the required safety measures under federal and provincial or territorial legislation. Where an accident occurs, experienced legal counsel can help guide the organization through the investigation process.

Likewise, when employees are injured on the job, it is important that they have a legal advocate on their side to help them secure the appropriate amount of compensation for medical expenses and other costs resulting from the accident.

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