Preliminary data released by the Mine Safety and Health Administration confirm that 2015 was the safest year in U.S. mining history, both in the number of deaths and mining's fatal and injury rates, which are calculated based on hours of miners' exposure. MSHA's updated "Mine Safety and Health at a Glance" page showed the data in charts on inspections, violations, the number of mines and miners, and fatality and injury rates for coal, metal and nonmetal, and all mining.
"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," said Assistant Secretary Joseph A. Main.
MSHA reports that in 2015, 28 miners died in mining accidents, down from 45 in 2014.
The fatal injury rate for all mining was 0.0096 (reported injuries per 200,000 hours worked), the lowest in mining history and down from 0.0144 in 2014 and 0.0110 in 2011 and 2012.
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.
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 will release a final version of the calendar year data in July.
Source: MSHA / OH&Sonline.com