Skip to content
MSHA News Release No. 2000-0918
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Rodney Brown
Phone: (703) 235-1452 


 Released Monday, September 18, 2000

Mining Fatalities Continue at ‘99 Rate

   Coal mining fatalities in the United States decreased during the second quarter of 2000 compared with the same period in 1999, while non-coal mining fatalities increased according to figures released today by the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

   Sixteen coal miners died in accidents on the job through June of this year, down from 17 through the end of the second quarter of 1999. A total of 35 coal miners died in accidents during calendar year 1999. In metal and nonmetal mining or non-coal mining, 29 miners were victims of fatal accidents through June of this year, an increase from the 23 reported for the same period in 1999. Fifty-five metal and nonmetal miners died on the job during 1999.

   "Mining fatalities have decreased significantly in the last 25 years," said Davitt McAteer, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "However, these numbers show that much work remains to be done to rid this industry of hazards that threaten those who earn their living in the nation's mines. Unfortunately, this year we are on a pattern which will reach last year's level which was ten fatalities more than ‘98. What we need to be doing is reaching new record-low levels, and eliminating death from America's mines."

   The rate of fatal injuries in coal mining was .033 per 200,000 employee work-hours during the second quarter of 2000, the same as the second quarter of 1999. The rate of nonfatal coal mining injuries involving lost worktime during the second quarter of 2000 was 4.63 injuries per 200,000 employee hours, up from 4.58 in the same period of 1999, and 4.60 for all of 1999. The rate for all types of injuries in coal mining was 6.18 per 200,000 work-hours, compared with 6.06 for the same period in 1999, and 6.10 for all of 1999.

   Coal miners worked a total of 96.1 million hours during the second quarter of 2000 compared with 103.9 million for the same period of 1999 and 111.1 million in the second quarter of 1998. The average employment during the second quarter of 2000 was 101,215 compared to 109,252 for the second quarter of 1999 and 114,781 for the second quarter of 1998. Coal mines produced 535 million tons of coal through June of this year, down from 547.8 million tons produced during the same period last year and down from 548.4 million tons in the second quarter of 1998.

   The rate of fatal injuries in metal and nonmetal mining rose to .027 per 200,000 employee work-hours from the .022 for the second quarter of 1999. The rate of non-fatal, lost-time injuries at metal and nonmetal mines was 2.64 for the second quarter of 2000 compared to 2.75 for the same period of 1999 and 2.66 for the entire year. The rate for all types of metal and nonmetal mining injuries for the second quarter of this year was 4.19, compared to 4.32 for the same period of 1999 and 4.19 for all of last year.

   Metal and nonmetal miners worked a total of 211.8 million hours through June of this year compared to 208.9 million for the same period of 1999 and 208.0 million for the second quarter of 1998. Average employment for the period was 203,507 compared with 231,710 for the second quarter of 1999 and 228,452 for the second quarter of 1998.

   The data for 2000 are preliminary and subject to change. Additional information on mining injuries will be published in "Mine Injuries and Worktime, Quarterly, January–June 2000" available from MSHA in coming months. Additional information concerning mine safety may be found on MSHA's web site at www.msha.gov.