The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration released a summary of U.S. mining deaths that occurred during the third quarter of 2014. From July 1 to Sept. 30, eight miners were killed in accidents at work, including five in metal and nonmetal mining and three in coal mining. In that same period in 2013, nine miners died in mining accidents.
The fatalities bring the number of U.S. mining deaths to a total of 30 in the first three quarters of 2014.
Of the five fatalities in metal and nonmetal mining, two miners died in powered haulage accidents when they were pinned by a front-end loader and a forklift respectively, one miner died in an electrical accident, one died as a result of falling material and one was killed in a fall. One of the fatalities was a contractor, and two were supervisors.
All of the deaths occurred on the surface. These types of accidents could be prevented following best practices for blocking against hazardous motion, using personal protection equipment and following lockout-tagout procedures, the agency said.
Of the three fatalities in coal mining, one miner died in an electrical accident underground, another was killed in a machinery accident at a surface operation, and the third died as a result of a powered haulage accident when he was crushed by diesel equipment underground.
“These deaths are a harsh reminder of why mines must be vigilant in ensuring effective safety programs and fostering a culture of safety first,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph A. Main. “Our hearts go out to the families of these miners.”
MSHA has launched a number of initiatives in recent years to assist mine operators with mine health and safety and to identify mines with chronic health and safety problems for enforcement actions. “We believe those efforts, along with initiatives by the mining industry, are making a difference, but clearly more needs to be done,” Main said.
Summaries of the accidents, and lists of best practices that might have prevented them, are available on MSHA’s website, along with an analysis of third-quarter mining fatalities.