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MSHA News Release No. 2001-0104
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Amy Louviere
Phone: (703) 235-1452

Released Thursday, January 4, 2001

MINING DEATHS DROP OVERALL IN 2000
Fatal injuries at mining operations in the United States last year decreased nearly six percent from the previous year, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration. Eighty-five miners died in on-the-job accidents in 2000, compared with 90 in 1999.

In the nation's metal and nonmetal mines, 47 miners died in fatal accidents during 2000 compared to 55 in 1999. In spite of an overall decrease in deaths, fatalities rose in the coal sector, with 38 in 2000 compared to 35 in 1999.

Preliminary data show that of the 38 accidental coal mining deaths last year, 18 occurred in underground coal mines. The leading causes of coal mining fatalities were powered haulage and machinery, each accounting for 10 deaths, followed by four fatal accidents caused by slips and falls.

Eight of the 47 metal and nonmetal fatalities occurred at underground mining operations, while the remaining accidents occurred at surface mines. Powered haulage was the leading cause of accidental deaths, claiming the lives of 18 miners. Machinery mishaps resulted in 11 fatalities, the second highest cause of accidental deaths.

Kentucky had the highest number of fatal coal mining accidents with 13. West Virginia followed with 9. Nevada led the nation in metal and nonmetal mining with six fatalities. Texas was next with 4. (State data attached.)

   Additional mine injury statistics released by MSHA for the first three quarters of the year 2000 follow:

  Rate of Fatal and Nonfatal Mining Injuries (Coal)    The rate of fatal injuries in coal mining was .040 per 200,000 employee work-hours through the third quarter of 2000. This compares with .038 through the third quarter of 1999, and .026 through the third quarter of 1998. Twenty-nine miners were killed on the job through September of this year; compared to 30 for the same period in 1999; 35 for all of last year, and 22 through third quarter of 1998.

    The rate for nonfatal coal mining injuries involving lost work time through the third quarter of 2000 was 5.18 injuries per 200,000 employee hours, up from 4.97 in the same period of 1999, 4.85 for all of 1999, and down from 5.50 through the third quarter of 1998. The rate for all types of injuries in coal mining was 6.86 per 200,000 work hours. This compared with 6.63 for the same period of 1999, 6.44 for all of 1999 and 7.40 through the third quarter of 1998.

Employment and Production Figures (Coal)

   Coal miners worked a total of 143.8 million hours through the third quarter of 2000 compared to 156.1 million for the same period of 1999 and 167.8 million through the third quarter of 1998. The average employment through the third quarter of 2000 was 105,377 compared to 111,659 through the third quarter of 1999 and 118,490 through the third quarter of 1998. Coal mines produced 801.2 million tons of coal through September of this year, a decrease from 823.5 million tons produced during the same period of 1999 and down from 838.3 million tons through the third quarter of 1998. Rate of Fatal and Nonfatal Mining Injuries (Metal/Nonmetal)

   The rate of fatal injuries in metal and nonmetal (non-coal) mining through the third quarter of 2000 was .023 per 200,000 employee-hours worked, compared to .023 through the third quarter of 1999, .025 for all of 1999, and .027 through the third quarter of 1998. Thirty-eight metal and nonmetal miners died in accidents through September of this year compared to 38 for the same period of 1999, 55 for all of last year, and 44 through the third quarter of 1998.

   The rate of nonfatal lost-time injuries at metal and nonmetal mines was 2.84 through the third quarter of 2000 compared to 2.92 for the same period of 1999, 2.79 for all of last year and 3.03 through the third quarter of 1998. The rate for all types of metal and nonmetal mining injuries through the third quarter of this year was 4.45 compared to 4.63 for the same period of 1999, 4.44 for all of last year, and 4.88 through the third quarter of 1998.

Employment and Production Figures (Metal/Nonmetal)

   Metal and nonmetal miners worked a total of 323.9 million hours through September of this year compared to 324.5 million for the same period of 1999 and 325.4 million through the third quarter of 1998. Average employment for the period was 236,589 compared to 233,290 through the third quarter of 1999 and 233,696 through the third quarter of 1998.

Mining Fatalities by State - CY 1997-2000 (as of December 29, 2000) - (File is PDF)