January 26, 2012
Preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) released on Jan. 5 reveal that 37 miners died in work-related accidents at the nation’s mines in 2011.
There were 21 coal mining and 16 metal/non-metal mining fatalities last year, compared with 48 and 23, respectively, in 2010, making 2011 the year with the second-lowest number of mining deaths since statistics were first recorded in 1910.
Of the 37 fatalities reported, 12 occurred at surface coal mines, 11 at surface metal/non-metal mines, nine at underground coal mines and five at underground metal/non-metal mines. Nine workers died in accidents involving machinery – six in coal mines and three in metal/non-metal mines – making it the leading cause of fatal mining accidents.
Kentucky had the most mining deaths – eight – in 2011, followed by West Virginia with six and Ohio with three. All but one of those deaths occurred in coal mines. Several of the larger coal-producing states, including Alabama, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Utah, experienced zero mine fatalities last year.