MSHA Says Coal Mining Deaths at Historic Low

The agency's preliminary fatality data for 2014 show 40 miners were killed in work-related accidents.

Preliminary data released by MSHA show 40 miners died in work-related accidents at the nation's mines during 2014, two fewer than the previous year, according to the agency's news release. Coal mining deaths dropped from 20 in 2013 to 16 in 2014, the lowest annual number of coal mining deaths ever recorded in the United States.

Twenty-four deaths occurred in metal and nonmetal mines last year, an increase from 22 deaths in 2013. The most common causes of accidents in 2014 involved powered haulage and machinery; five powered haulage and five machinery-related deaths occurred in coal mines, and powered haulage accounted for eight deaths in metal and nonmetal mining.

"Mining deaths are preventable, and those that occurred in 2014 are no exception," said Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "While MSHA and the mining industry have made a number of improvements and have been moving mine safety in the right direction, these deaths, particularly those in the metal and nonmetal industry, makes clear the need to do more to protect our nation's miners."

Ten coal mining deaths occurred underground and six occurred at surface operations. In metal/nonmetal mining, six deaths occurred underground and 18 occurred at surface operations.

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