MSHA: Mining supervisor deaths up in 2012

February 13, 2013

Arlington, VA – Mining fatalities remained low for the second straight year, but the proportion of supervisor deaths increased significantly in 2012, according to preliminary data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

A total of 36 miners were killed in mining incidents in 2012 – one fewer than in 2011 and one short of the all-time low of 35 in 2009. Supervisors accounted for one-quarter of the fatalities, which MSHA said is an unusually high percentage and raises concerns.

Most of the fatal incidents involved powered haulage equipment. Other causes included machinery incidents and slips and falls.

MSHA noted that three of the 17 miners killed in metal/non-metal mines (.pdf file) had less than one year of experience at the mine, and five had less than one year of experience performing the job task. Similarly, five of the 19 miners who died in coal mines (.pdf file) had less than one year of experience, and eight had been performing their job task for less than one year.

MSHA said those numbers underscore the need for effective and appropriate training.