The US Mine Safety and Health Administration released statistics Monday showing that throughout last year, the fatal injury rate for mining as a whole was .0144 per 200,000 hours worked. The all-injury rate was 2.73 per 200,000 man hours.
In 2010, these figures were .0234 and 2.81 respectively.
Coal mining notably improved its year-on-year numbers, with a fatal injury rate of .0156 per 200,000 hours worked in 2011 and an all-injury rate of 3.38 per 200,000 hours.
The totals fell significantly from .0384 and 3.43 respectively, in 2010.
Metal/nonmetal fatal injury rates were .0084 per 200,000 hours worked, and the all-injury rate was 2.28 per 200,000 hours worked, down from .0129 and 2.37 in the year prior.
Also on Monday, the MSHA released its summary of third-quarter mining deaths from US mines. Between July and September, 11 deaths occurred in work-related accidents, six of them in coal mining.
Of the coal deaths, one the most prevalent accident classifications was powered haulage systems, with three miners killed. Two workers lost their lives in falls of rib, roof, face or back, and one miner died as a result of a machinery accident.
The five metal/nonmetal mining deaths included two miners in falls, one in a machinery accident, one miner killed by falling material, and another lost in a powered haulage accident.
“Even though the mining industry has achieved historic low fatality and injury rates, we know that more needs to be done, and that fatalities and injuries are preventable,” assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health Joseph Main said.
“Many mines operate every shift of every day, year in and year out, without a fatality or a lost-time injury.”
Main stressed that fatalities could be prevented with effective safety and health-management programs, and examinations before and during shifts that could identify hazards.
Additionally, effective training would ensure miners recognized hazards and how to control or eliminate them, Main said.