U.S. safety rallies for mining but falls for coal

MINING fatalities in 2003 were at their lowest level since statistics were first recorded in 1910, according to preliminary numbers released last week by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).
U.S. safety rallies for mining but falls for coal U.S. safety rallies for mining but falls for coal U.S. safety rallies for mining but falls for coal U.S. safety rallies for mining but falls for coal U.S. safety rallies for mining but falls for coal

MSHA safety poster

Angie Tomlinson

Coal fatalities totalled 29 in 2003 versus 27 in 2002 with West Virginia recording 10 fatalities and Kentucky eight. Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Penn, Virginia and Wyoming also recorded coal fatalities and Utah has already logged one machinery-related fatality this year.

In 2003, overall mining-related fatalities decreased 18% from 2002 figures. The total number of miners killed in mining accidents was 55, compared with 67 in 2002. This is the third consecutive year of decreased fatalities for the mining industry.

“MSHA developed new alliances for safety and health in 2003, gave special attention to small mines, enhanced outreach efforts, and emphasized compliance assistance,” said MSHA’s Dave Lauriski.

For the first time since 1910, MSHA recorded no fatalities in December for the coal sector of the industry. Fatalities involving falls from the roofs of coal mines, previously a leading cause of deaths, dropped to two in 2003.

“Miners and the mining industry can be proud of their contribution to the new low record,” Lauriski said. “More and more mines are making safety a value in every part of their operations each day, and this is moving us toward a true culture of prevention-the key to improved performance.”

MSHA gathers mining fatality data from the 50 states, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. In 1900 a total of 1,489 fatalities was recorded and from 1900 through to 2002 104,495 coal miners have died in U.S. mines.

Full statistics can be viewed at www.msha.gov, under the statistics heading in the right hand column, click on fatality charts.

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