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MSHA: 2015 was safest year on record for mining industry

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Miner --- Oct2013

Arlington, VA – The Mine Safety and Health Administration is calling 2015 “the safest year in mining history” based on preliminary fatality and injury data released April 7.

Last year was the safest in terms of both number of fatalities and rates of death and injury, which are based on hours of miner exposure, according to MSHA. In 2015, 28 miners died, down from 45 the previous year. In comparison, 242 miners died in 1978, the first year of existence for MSHA.

The 2015 fatal injury rate was 0.0096 reported injuries per 200,000 hours worked, according to the data from MSHA. The rate was 0.0144 in 2014 and 0.0110 in both 2011 and 2012.

At coal mines, the fatal injury rate was 0.0121 for the all-time lowest rate. The previous record was set in 2011 during high employment.

At metal and non-metal mines, the fatal injury rate was 0.0085, near the record low of 0.0079 in 2012. The number of deaths and the fatal injury rate were almost half of what they were in 2014. The “all-injury rate” provided by mine operators was a record low of 2.28. At coal mines, the all-injury rate was 2.88, the first time it has been less than 3.0. The rate at metal and non-metal mines was a record of 2.01.

Although the number of miners, mining operations and MSHA inspections were lower in 2015, MSHA claims that compliance still improved, as citations and orders issued decreased by 11 percent. Assessments of penalties declined to $62.3 million; however, about 2 percent of violations have not been yet been assessed.

The agency said it intends to release final data in July.

“The progress we made in 2015 is good news for miners and the mining industry. It is the result of intensive efforts by MSHA and its stakeholders that have led to mine site compliance improvements, a reduction of chronic violators, historic low levels of respirable coal dust and silica, and a record low number of mining deaths,” MSHA administrator Joseph A. Main said in a press release.

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