hand-holding-lump-of-coalA miner in West Virginia was killed last night.

From Ken Ward, Jr., at the Charleston Gazette:

The accident occurred at about 1:30 a.m. today at White Buck Coal Co.’s Pocahontas Mine near Rupert. This is a former Massey Energy operation now controlled by Alpha Natural Resources.

According to state officials, the miner was caught between a scoop and the continuous mining machine — a type of accident that is becoming all too common in the coal-mining industry [PDF]. Unfortunately, we’re still waiting for the Obama administration to move on two regulatory proposals that would help prevent these sorts of fatal accidents.

State officials have identified the miner who was killed as Steve Odell of Mt. Nebo. He had three years of mining experience and was a certified electricial.

As Ward also notes, the White Buck mine was once run by David Craig Hughart, who this week pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy including one related to violations of health and safety standards.

According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, mining deaths and injuries have dropped dramatically over the years. But then, so has the number of miners. Mining was still one of the most dangerous jobs in America last year.

Coal keeps getting more expensive.