Current fatality prevention efforts in the US mining industry
Mining Engineering, 2015, Vol. 67, No. 10, pp. 36-36
Great effort has been expended for more than 40 years to improve the workplace safety and health of surface and underground miners across the United States. When looking at the past decade, withstanding the 2010, Upper Big Branch (UBB) disaster that took the lives of 29 miners, this effort has resulted in a generally decreasing trend from 57 fatalities (22 coal; 35 metal/non-metal) in 2005, to 45 (16 coal; 29 m/nm) in 2014. Through August of this year, there have been 23 mining-related deaths (eight coal; 15 m/nm). These results reflect continued diligence and perseverance on the part of miners that stay true to our legacy; and demonstrate significant investments from mine-site leadership, mining corporations, and state and federal regulators. However, over the past five years there have been an average of 32 fatalities per year, with a low of 36 (2011 and 2012) to a high of 45 (2014). If we know that there will be somewhere between 30 and 50 mining related deaths next year, which of us will volunteer to be counted as one of the numbered? Clearly, we all agree that one fatality is too many; and as evidenced by changes following UBB, deaths in any sector are deaths reflective of all mining across all sectors.
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