Yesterday’s Top Story – U.S. mining death toll surges with metal/nonmetals losses–MSHA – by Dorothy Kosich ( – January 7, 2014)

Machinery and powered haulage equipment were the most common causes of accidents for both coal and metal/nonmetal operations in 2013, MSHA reported.

RENO (MINEWEB.COM) – Preliminary data released by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration said 42 miners died in work related accidents at U.S. mines last year, up from 36 mining fatalities in 2012.

While mining deaths were at a record low rate for the first nine months of last year, six coal miners and nine metal/nonmetal miners died in mining accidents during the fourth-quarter 2013, a significant increase from the same period of 2012 when four coal miners and two metal/nonmetal miners died.

In 2013 there were 20 coal mining and 22 metal/nonmetal mining fatalities, compared with 20 coal mining deaths and 16 metal/nonmetal mining deals in 2012. Four mining deaths in 2013 involved contractors (two each in coal and metal/nonmetal), the lowest number of contractors deaths since MSHA began maintaining contractor data in 1983.

For metal/nonmetal mining, 17 deaths occurred at surface operations, while five deaths occurred underground in 2013. Fourteen coal mining deaths occurred underground and six were reported at surface operations during the same time period, said MSHA.

The most common cause of mining accidents last year involved machinery and powered haulage equipment. West Virginia reported the highest number of coal mining fatalities with six, while Kentucky had the most metal/nonmetal deaths with four killed.

“While we have made a number of improvements and have been moving mine safety in the right direction, the increased number of metal/nonmetal deaths makes it clear we need to do more to protect our nation’s miners,” said Joseph Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.

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