U.S. mining accomplishes nearly 30-year low in fatalities, injuries in 2012

| Published on July 15, 2013

A chart shows the number of mining deaths from 1978 until 2012, when the lowest mumber of fatalities were recorded. (Photo: MSHA)

A chart shows the number of mining deaths from 1978 until 2012, when the lowest number of fatalities were recorded. (Photo: MSHA)

The U.S. experienced in 2012 its lowest fatality and injury rates in the history of the country’s mining and the lowest contractor fatalities in nearly 30 years, according to data released this month from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

The figures come from MSHA’s final data for 2012. The agency began calculating fatality and injury rates in 1983.

Total deaths in 2012 included 36 miners who died on the job and five contractors who died in mining accidents (calculated from all types of mining). The fatality rate was .0110 deaths per 200,000 hours worked, and the rate of reported injuries was 2.56 per 200,000 hour worked.

The number of mines in the U.S. decreased from 14,176 in 2011 to 14,093 in 2012, while the number of miners increased from 381,209 to 387,878. However, Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 violations cited by MSHA decreased by 18 percent since 2010.

The number of citations and orders MSHA issued dropped 11 percent from 156,802 in 2011 to 139,770 in 2012, and penalty assessments fell from $160.8 million in 2011 to $120.5 million in 2012.

Metal and nonmetal mining experienced a record-low fatality and injury rates, with .0079 deaths per 200,000 hours worked and 2.19 injuries per 200,000 hours worked. Sixteen miners died in on-the-job accidents, equal to the record low set in 2011. T

Citations and orders issued in metal and nonmetal mining decreased 5 percent from 63,472 in 2011 to 60,520 in 2012. While the number of metal and nonmetal mines remained steady at 12,193, the number of miners increased from 237,772 in 2011 to 250,228 in 2012.

For updated information about mine safety and health, visit msha.gov.

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