Report: Record-low fatality, injury rates established

By |  April 10, 2013

MSHA released preliminary data earlier this week that indicates 2012 had the lowest fatality and injury rates in the history of U.S. mining.

The fatality rate last year was 0.0107 deaths per 200,000 hours worked. The rate of reported injuries was 2.56 per 200,000 hours worked. These reductions replace the previous year’s record historical-low rates, respectively.

Although the number of mines in the U.S. decreased slightly, the number of miners increased from 381,209 to 387,671. Thirty-five miners died on the job in 2012, tying the record-low number of deaths in mining set in 2009. The number of citations and orders MSHA issued fell from 157,052 in 2011 to 140,007 in 2012 – an 11 percent decrease.

In metal and nonmetal mining, the record-low fatality rate was 0.0080 deaths per 200,000 hours worked. Sixteen miners died in on-the-job accidents, equaling the record low set in 2011. The reported injury rate of 2.19 per 200,000 hours worked also was a record low.

Citations and orders issued dropped from 63,601 in 2011 to 60,680 in 2012 ­–a 5 percent reduction. While the number of metal and nonmetal mines remained steady in 2012 at 12,193, the number of miners increased from 237,772 in 2011 to 250,310 in 2012.

In coal mining, 19 miners died in on-the-job accidents in 2012 ­– the second-lowest number ever. The fatality rate was 0.0151 deaths per 200,000 hours worked ­– also the second lowest ever recorded. The rate of reported injuries was 3.15 per 200,000 hours worked – the lowest ever recorded.

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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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