Fatalities Increase in 2010
- Written by Mark Kuhar
January 18, 2011 – Mining fatalities in the United States increased in 2010, following a year marked by the fewest deaths in mining history, according to MSHA's year-end 2010 report. Seventy-one miners died on the job last year, compared to 34 in 2009. Forty-eight of those deaths occurred in coal mines, and 23 occurred at metal/nonmetal operations.
MSHA recorded 16 fatalities in 2009 in the metal/nonmetal sector.
Of the 71 mining fatalities reported, 23 of those victims were killed in surface mining accidents, while 48 miners died in underground mining accidents, 29 of whom were killed in the explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in April. The leading cause of coal mining deaths was ignition or explosion, followed by powered haulage and roof falls. The leading cause of metal/nonmetal mining deaths was powered haulage, followed by falling or sliding material, and machinery.
"While 2010 will be remembered for the explosion that killed 29 men at the Upper Big Branch mine, we are mindful that 42 additional miners' lives also ended in tragedy," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "Increasing our efforts to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for our nation's miners is the best way to honor the memory of those who died.