Mine fatalities nearing 2022 mark with several months to go

By |  August 10, 2023
Photo: kozmoat98/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

2023 mining fatalities (27) are unfortunately on pace to surpass 2022’s total (29). Photo: kozmoat98/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Image

The rate of fatal accidents across the mining industry slowed as summer officially began, but it picked up again following several waves of deaths that occurred throughout the first half of the year. 

According to the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA), three fatal mining accidents happened between June 8 and June 22. One miner died in a July accident, and two were killed in separate Aug. 5 accidents.

Mining fatalities are now up to 27 on the year through Aug. 9, according to information available on MSHA’s website. In 2022, 29 miners were killed in accidents across the U.S. 

“Mine operators are responsible for providing a safe and healthy work environment,” says Chris Williamson, assistant secretary at MSHA. “This includes controlling miners’ exposure to health hazards like silica, preventing safety hazards such as unsafe electrical equipment and potential slips, trips and falls, and ensuring adequate workplace examinations and training.”

About recent accidents

Logo: MSHAMSHA classified four of the last seven mining fatalities dating back to June 1 as machinery accidents. Of the four machinery accidents, three occurred at aggregate operations.

In a July 17 machinery accident, MSHA says a miner died while performing repairs on a gyratory crusher. A lifting eye attached to a crusher component broke free and struck the miner.

In another machinery accident June 22, MSHA says a contractor employee was killed after the bulldozer he was operating backed over the edge of a highwall. Yet another machinery accident happened June 1 when a customer truck driver was struck by a component of his truck’s air bag height/ride suspension system while performing maintenance.

Perspective

Of the year’s 27 fatal mining accidents, MSHA classified 11 as involving machinery. Twenty-one of the 27 occurred at metal/nonmetal operations, with the other six happening at coal mines.

Additionally, MSHA’s 2023 fatality reports indicate that six of the year’s 27 mining fatalities took place at crushed or broken limestone operations. Three occurred at construction sand and gravel sites, and two happened at crushed or broken sandstone operations.

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About the Author:

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

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