Staying Safe in 2012
2011 fatality data
by Tina Grady Barbaccia,
News and Digital Editor
reliminary data released from the Mine
Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)
reveals 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 in 2011, 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, according to MSHA.
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, according to MSHA. 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.
“Mining deaths are preventable,” said Joseph A.
Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and
health, in a written statement. “The year that the
Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 passed,
273 miners died, and, since that time, fatality num-
bers have steadily declined. In order to prevent mine
deaths, operators must have in place effective safety
and health management programs that are constantly
evaluated, find-and-fix programs to identify and
eliminate mine hazards, and training for all mining
MSHA says it has undertaken a number of measures to prevent mining deaths: increased surveillance
and strategic enforcement through impact inspections at mines with troubling compliance histories;
enhanced pattern of violations actions; special initiatives such as “Rules to Live By,” which focuses attention on the most common causes of mining deaths;
and outreach efforts such as “Safety Pro in a Box,”
which provides guidance to the metal/non-metal
mining industry on best practices and compliance
“It takes the entire mining community to continue
to reach new milestones in health and safety,” Main
says in the written statement. “While fewer miners
are dying on the job, we can never alter our focus
because, as we know, things can change in a moment.
Miners need the reassurance that they will return
home safe and healthy after each shift.” AM
To see data on state-by-state mining fatalities from 2001 to 2011,
go to www.msha.gov/stats/charts/Allstates.pdf.
Operator Injury Data
Surface, Sand & Gravel
IR: Incidence rate
NFDL: Non-fatal occurrences
NDL: Occurrences with no days lost
AGGREGATES MANAGER April 2012