Thousands of miners die in mining accidents every year in the United States. However, preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) shows some promising new data. 40 miners died in work-related accidents at U.S. mines last year. That is two fewer than the previous year. Coal mining deaths also dropped from 20 to 16 in 2013. That is the lowest annual number of coal mining deaths ever recorded in the United States.
The amount of coal mines and miners have recently declined in the U.S., but the number of deaths last year is about half of what the industry experienced in the early 2000s.
The most common types of mining accidents last year involved powered haulage and machinery. These types of accidents involve equipment used to transport workers, materials, or supplies.
Preventing Mining Accidents
Assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, Joseph A. Main, says the mining industry has made several improvements to increase the safety and health of miners, but more can be done. He believes mine operators must maintain effective safety and health management programs. These programs should be constantly evaluated to identify and eliminate mine hazards. Main also says employers must provide necessary safety training for all mining personnel.
MSHA has recently tried to prevent mining deaths by increasing surveillance and strategic enforcement through inspections at mines with troubling compliance histories; implementing special initiatives to focus attention on the most common causes of mining deaths; and engaging in outreach efforts with the mining community.