Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Preliminary report: 2015 safest year ever for U.S. miners; 28 died in accidents last year

2015 was the safest year on record for U.S. mining, in terms of number of deaths and fatal and injury rates, according to preliminary Mine Safety and Health Administration data, reports Occupational Health and Safety. Last year 28 miners died in accidents, down from 45 in 2014. While there was less coal mining, reducing the numbers of fatalities and injuries, the rates per hour worked were also down.

"The fatal injury rate for all mining was 0.0096 (per 200,000 hours worked), the lowest in mining history and down from 0.0144 in 2014 and 0.0110 in 2011 and 2012," OHS reports. "The fatal injury rate for coal mining in 2015 was 0.0121, also the lowest rate ever. The previous fatal-injury-rate low was set in 2011, during a period of peak employment in the coal industry."

"The all-injury rate, as reported by mine operators, also fell to a new low of 2.28 n 2015, with coal's all-injury rate falling to 2.88, the first time it dropped below 3.0, and metal and nonmetal's all-injury rate dropping to a new low of 2.01," reports OHS. "MSHA citations and orders issued also fell by 11 percent in 2015. Assessed penalties dropped to $62.3 million, with approximately 2 percent of violations not yet assessed."

MSHA Administrator Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, said in a press release, "The progress we made in 2015 is good news for miners and the mining industry. It is the result of intensive efforts by MSHA and its stakeholders that have led to mine site compliance improvements, a reduction of chronic violators, historic low levels of respirable coal dust and silica, and a record low number of mining deaths." A final report is to be released in July.

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