Mining deaths up in 2010

January 18, 2011

Arlington, VA – After reaching an all-time low in 2009, mining deaths more than doubled in 2010, the Mine Safety and Health Administration announced Jan. 13.

Seventy-one miners died on the job last year, compared with 34 the year before, according to an MSHA press release. Underground mining incidents accounted for 48 deaths, including the 29 miners killed in the April explosion at Upper Big Branch Mine-South.

The leading cause of coal mining deaths was ignition or explosion, followed by powered haulage and roof falls.

While calling for mine operators to take responsibility for health and safety conditions, MSHA also touted recent efforts to improve mine safety, which include the Rules to Live By fatality prevention program, tougher procedures for the pattern-of-violations program and, for the first time, seeking injunctive action against an unsafe mine.