Mining is a large sector that comprises some subsectors like oil and gas extraction, mining (coal, metal ore, and nonmetallic minerals), quarrying, and an array of support activities for mining.
The industry is one of the largest employment generators in the country today – with close to 700,000 people working in some capacity at various subsectors.
The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act, which was passed in 1977, states that the topmost priority of everyone in the mining industry should be the health, safety, and well-being of its most precious resource – the miner.
Unfortunately, mining happens to be an industry with a high fatality rate and the risk of injuries – both fatal and nonfatal – is higher compared to most other industries.
In 2010, there were a total of 172 fatalities in the mining industry – a sharp increase from the 100 deaths reported in the previous year. The fatality rate increased from 12.4 per 100,000 FTE (full-time equivalent) in 2009 to 19.8 in 2010 – a 72% increase within just one year.
The mining industry stood second regarding work-related deaths and the overall fatality rate – next only to the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting sector. The percentage of fatal injuries was over five times higher compared to the fatality rates in private industries.
Data shows that accidents that lead to multiple fatal injuries are more common in mining than probably any other industry.
The risk of multiple fatal injury accidents is very high in coal mining – with 72.1% of the accidents resulting in multiple life-threatening injuries. In the other subsectors of mining, the figure stands at 26.7%. In other industries, only 8.6% of accidents result in numerous fatal injuries.
Fatal Injury Causes
- 62.2% of workers who succumbed to life-threatening injuries were employed in construction and extraction. Transportation and material moving workers accounted for 21.5% of fatal injury victims.
- 32.6% of fatalities in the mining sector were caused by fires and explosions, 29.7% of deaths were caused by transportation accidents, and 23.8% of fatalities were caused by workers accidentally coming into contact with machinery and stationary objects.
- 69.8% of deaths in coal mining were caused by fires and explosions.
- 38% of fatalities in support activities for mining were caused by transportation accidents.
Non-fatal Injuries and their Causes
In 2009, the total number of recordable injuries and illnesses in the mining sector was 17,700. In 2010, the number had come down to 15,500 – a decline of 12.4%.
About 43.4% of days-away-from-work cases in the industry were caused as a result of workers coming into contact with machinery or objects accidentally. About 26.3% of these kinds of germane cases were caused as a result of workers overexerting themselves.
Floors and ground surfaces were the most common cause of injuries in the mining industry, accounting for 17.8% of all work-related injuries. Parts and materials accounted for 16.9% of injuries and machines accounted for 11% of injuries.
Sprains, strains, and tears were the most common type of injuries sustained by workers in the mining industry – constituting 37.5% of all nonfatal injuries. Fractures accounted for 17.5% of injuries and bruises and contusions accounted for 8.8% of injuries.
Injuries to the trunk (including the back) accounted for 32.9% of all injuries. 25.6% of injuries were to the lower extremities (knees, ankles, and feet) and 21.1% of injuries were to the upper extremities (arms, hands, and fingers).
Watch YouTube Video: MSHA Rules to Live By. This educational video created by Mine Safety Center provides safety rules on how to prevent injuries and fatalities in mining.
Machine Accident Lawyers in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a machine accident lawyer in Sacramento. Miners often suffer injuries or death when their machine fails to work correctly. If you’ve been injured or a family member has been killed while operating a mining machine, call me at 916-584-9355 for a free consultation.
I’ve helped many clients throughout Northern California with personal injury and wrongful death cases for 36 years. My firm is dedicated to helping injured workers, and surviving family members of the deceased get the compensation they are entitled to.
Photo by Dominik Vanyi on Unsplash
:br cha [cs 724]