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Wisconsin mine could cause asbestos-like work injury

When iron mine employees are working, they are encapsulated with heavy equipment and efficient air filtration systems. In mines where rocks are crushed with heavy machinery, the machines are also encapsulated and provided with air filtration. If safety measures fail, workers can have contaminated residue on their face, clothing and skin -- potentially causing work injury and illness. A proposed new Wisconsin mine could cause asbestos-like work injury if proper measures are not taken prior to opening its operation.

An area that is meant to become a new Wisconsin iron mine site was recently discovered to be covered in asbestos-like fibers and has the potential to be dangerous to workers if not properly managed. When fibrous rock like those found at the mine site is disturbed, particles of dust or rock enter the air. Workers could inhale the asbestos like toxin and develop Mesothelioma, a serious lung cancer. The future work site must undergo extensive safety procedures before miners can move in and begin to harvest the iron.

The State Department of Natural Resources has not yet determined the level of risk or quantity of asbestos like fibers that may exist in the area, though controlling the release of the fibers during mining is imperative for the safety of everyone. At a similar iron mine where federal safety measures were met, a higher than normal number of workers were apparently diagnosed with Mesothelioma from exposure while mining. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is helping to coordinate the sampling and permit assignment for the mine to help prevent a serious work injury before it happens.

The cost of preventative procedures may be expensive, but supposedly has not thwarted the professionals from their decision to move forward with the mine build. Test drilling has been completed in eight areas, with more planned, to analyze the rock and characteristics of the fibers. The new Wisconsin mine could cause asbestos-like work injury if the dust is not adequately controlled. An employee who has suffered from a mining work accident or negligence may choose to seek legal assistance in claiming workers' compensation benefits for medical expenses and lost wages.

Source:, Cost of asbestos controls at northern Wisconsin mine won't be known for a while, Steven Verburg, Nov. 3, 2013

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