Miner’s Knee and Compensation
In 2016, the U.S. produced 743 million tons of coal. According to the Energy Information Administration, over 30% of the electricity used in the U.S. was produced from coal. Back in 1923 there were 863,000 coal miners, whereas today there are only 50,000. Although coal production has decreased in the recent years, there are still many individuals alive today that have been, or still are employed by the coal industry.
Basics of Coal Mining
There are two basic methods for mining coal: surface mining and underground mining. Geographical conditions determine which method to use. There are multiple different techniques to both surface and underground mining; but the basic difference, as the names suggest, is that one method occurs underground by using vast networks of tunnels to reach the coal and the other occurs on the surface, usually by utilizing explosives to expose the coal. In both methods, it is not uncommon for the miners to be required to lift, crawl, kneel or squat to aid in the coal extraction, although, underground mining requires far more crawling.
Knee Injuries from Coal Mining
Due partly to the nature of the work, coal miners often experience knee problems. One highly prevalent injury associated with mining is osteoarthritis. In fact, it is so closely related that this type of osteoarthritis is often referred to as “miner’s knee”. In sufferers of osteoarthritis, the cartilage which provides the cushion between bones, breaks down. This degeneration results in pain, swelling, and issues with the joint’s mobility. Eventually, the cartilage may become completely worn and the bones in the knee begin to rub together without protection – leading to more severe pain and damage.
Over 30 million adults are affected by osteoarthritis in various joints. Studies have shown that when compared to the general population, underground coal miners are at double the risk for knee osteoarthritis. Because of the insurmountable correlation between mining and this knee injury, miner’s knee has become a prescribed disease. A prescribed disease is an occupational condition which is eligible for financial benefits. This benefit is produced by the Department for Work and Pensions.
Qualifying For the Benefits
Miners who worked for 10 or more years before the 1986 should qualify for the prescribed disease benefit. For those working after 1986, one of the following work conditions must be met:
- Conveyor attendant or cleaner.
- Development worker.
- Face work on a non-mechanised coal face.
- Face-salvage worker.
If you meet one of the requirements you could be eligible for the prescribed disease benefit. Although, that may not be all you are entitled toward. If your knee osteoarthritis is a result of another party’s negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury claim as well. To determine if you are eligible for such a claim, contact a professional personal injury lawyer to discuss potential legal options. Work with an experienced medical professional such as the doctor for knee pain PG County MD locals trust.
Thanks to Authors at Pain and Arthritis Relief Center for their insight into Chiropractic treatment.