Mining deaths in 2012 second lowest on record

By |  February 4, 2013

Preliminary data released Jan. 31 from MSHA indicates that mining fatality rates reached an all-time low for the second straight year in 2012. Fatality rates are calculated based on the number of mining deaths per 200,000 hours worked.

Thirty-six miners, including 17 in metal/nonmetal mines, died in work-related accidents at U.S. mines last year. The 36 represents the second-lowest annual fatality total on record and is one more than the historic low of 35 deaths that occurred in 2009.

Three of the 17 miners killed at metal/nonmetal mines had less than one year of experience at the mine. Five miners had less than one year of experience at the job or task they were performing.

Seven miners died in West Virginia, five in Kentucky, three each in New York and Alabama, two each in Montana and Florida, and one each in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia.

The leading cause of all miner deaths was powered haulage, which claimed the lives of 10 miners. Other common causes were machinery accidents, slip or fall accidents, and rib falls.

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Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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