MSHA Reports Nine Mining Deaths in Third Quarter

This was two fewer than the total fatalities during the same quarter of 2012.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration reported there were nine U.S. mining deaths during the third quarter of 2013, from July 1 to Sept. 30, with five miners killed in coal mining accidents and four in metal/nonmetal mining accidents. This was two fewer than during the third quarter of 2012.

Two coal miners died in machinery accidents and one each died in powered haulage, fall of roof or rib, and drowning accidents. Two metal/nonmetal miners died in powered haulage accidents and one each died in machinery and falling/sliding material accidents, according to the agency.

Through Sept. 30, a total of 27 miners have died in mining accidents this year, down from 30 during the same period of 2012.

"While the number of mining deaths was lower than in the same period last year, miners continue to die in accidents that could have been prevented, such as by using proximity detection equipment," Assistant Secretary Joe Main said in MSHA's news release. It highlighted the value of proximity detection systems that can stop moving machinery before it strikes, pins, or crushes a miner working nearby. As of Sept. 30, 2013, 372 proximity detection systems had been installed on continuous mining machines, coal hauling machines, and scoops in underground coal mines, the release stated.

"In metal/nonmetal mining, fatalities continue to occur that could be prevented by using lockout/tagout best practices," Main said. "Two of the fatalities this quarter could have been avoided by disconnecting the power, ensuring the miner on the job has locked the power source in the safe position, and tagging to prevent the power from being re-energized. While actions undertaken by MSHA and the mining industry continue to move mine safety in the right direction, these deaths are a reminder that much more needs to be done to protect the nation's miners and ensure they return home after every shift."

An analysis of third-quarter mining fatalities is available at http://www.msha.gov/fatals/summaries/summaries.asp.

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