Since October 2015, eight fatalities and more than 1,100 nonfatal accidents have occurred in the nation’s coal mines, resulting in restricted duty, missed days at work and permanent disabilities for the miners who worked there. While injury rates have been fairly consistent during this time period, records indicate a trend in accidents resulting in more serious injuries. The circumstances in at least 30 of the accidents might have led to fatalities.
In response, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration is issuing a call to safety to coal miners working in underground and surface mines around the country. Inspectors will engage coal miners and mine operators in “walk and talks” through Sept. 30, reminding them to “stop and take a breath” before proceeding with the next task at hand.
The most common outcomes of the more than 1,100 mining accidents – 250 of which occurred at surface operations – were injuries to the back, shoulders, knees and fingers. In the near-fatal accidents, the majority were attributed to powered haulage, electrical and machinery classifications.
The majority of non-fatal accidents occurred in West Virginia, with 419; Kentucky, with 191, and Pennsylvania, 130.
“These walk and talks are intended to increase miners’ awareness of recent accidents, encourage the application of safety training and raise hazard recognition,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.
Since October 2015, more than 1,100 non-fatal accidents occurred in the nation’s coal mines, according to Mine Safety and Health Administration data.