Surge in fourth-quarter accidents increases mining fatality rate

By |  January 6, 2014

Forty-two miners died in work-related accidents at U.S. mines in 2013, according to preliminary data from MSHA. The 42 represent an increase of six compared with the 36 miners who died in 2012.

Twenty-two of the 42 fatalities were in metal/nonmetal mining, MSHA reports. Sixteen metal/nonmetal miners died in 2012.

Mining fatalities occurred at a record-low rate for the first three quarters of 2013, according to a press release, but nine metal/nonmetal mining deaths and six coal mining deaths significantly increased the annual total. According to MSHA, two metal/nonmetal miners and four coal miners died during the fourth quarter of the previous year.

The most common causes of mining accidents in 2013 involved machinery and powered haulage equipment. Kentucky had the most metal/nonmetal mining deaths, with four. West Virginia had the most coal mining deaths, with six.

“While we have made a number of improvements and have been moving mine safety in the right direction, the increased number of metal/nonmetal deaths makes clear we need to do more to protect our nation’s miners,” says Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for MSHA, in a press release.


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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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