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MSHA: Coal mining deaths reach record low; overall mine deaths down

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Arlington, VA – Coal mining-related deaths reached an all-time low in 2014, according to preliminary data released Jan. 5 by the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Sixteen coal miners died in 2014, four fewer than in 2013. The previous record low was 18 deaths in 2009.

The total number of work-related mining deaths also declined in 2014, down to 40 in 2014 from 42 the previous year, MSHA said in a press release.

Other findings from the 2014 data:

  • Metal/nonmetal mine deaths increased to 24 from 22 in 2013.
  • Nine deaths occurred in the last quarter of the year, compared with 15 deaths in the previous year’s final quarter.
  • Nearly half of all mining deaths involved powered haulage and machinery.

MSHA administrator Joseph A. Main called on mine operators to maintain effective safety and health programs to help prevent future deaths.

“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 with the increase in the metal and nonmetal industry, make clear the need to do more to protect our nation’s miners,” Main said a statement.