In 2014, the U.S. coal mining industry reported the lowest number of coal mining deaths in recorded history; this follows a steady decline in coal fatalities over recent years. Yet the overall fatality count for the U.S. mining industry in 2014 was just the fourth-lowest annual total on record.
The explanation? A spike in fatalities in the metal/nonmetal (MNM) mining sector. This sector reported their own record low fatality numbers back in 2011 and 2012, with 16 deaths each year. However, MNM fatalities rose to over 20 in 2013, and reported another increase in 2014 with a total of 25 deaths in the sector.
“Unacceptable” according to MSHA chief Joe Main, who has announced an increased focus in 2015 on combating fatal incidents, serious injuries and their root causes, particularly in light of the increasing fatality numbers in the metal and nonmetal mining sector.
Increasing Enforcement Efforts