Mining Fatalities Reach Double Digits This Year


The US Mining Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reports that 18 miners have died this year – 11 coal and 7 metal-non metal workers. The total number of fatalities in 2016 reached 25.

The latest fatality occurred on Aug 3rd when falling material killed a coal miner at the Desarado Mine in Colorado.

Data recently compiled between October 2015 and March 2017 by MSHA shows that less experienced miners – both at a mine and at a specific occupation – suffer injuries at a higher rate than more experienced miners. Over this 18-month period, miners with one year or less of experience at a mine suffered 903 injuries, compared to 418 for those who had worked at a mine between one and two years. Miners with one year or less job experience suffered 603 injuries, compared to 409 for those with between one and two years job experience.

Meanwhile, MSHA is announcing immediate action to address a longstanding issue by implementing an action plan for employees who do not meet the Agency’s medical standards. Some employees have not met medical standards for several years.

MSHA inspectors and technical personnel are required to have periodic medical examinations and meet U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) -approved medical standards as a condition of employment. Medical examinations, including tests for vision and hearing, are required. MSHA reviewed examination results and determined that approximately 15 to 20 percent of MSHA inspectors and technical personnel do not currently meet the Agency’s medical standards and that the problem had been growing over the past several years.

MSHA reviewed examination results and determined that approximately 15 to 20 percent of MSHA inspectors and technical personnel do not currently meet the Agency’s medical standards and that the problem had been growing over the past several years.

The Department of Labor is taking immediate action to develop an effective, consistent, and equitable plan to resolve the issue. In response, MSHA will implement an individualized assessment process for employees who do not meet medical standards.

The process will incorporate requirements for reasonable accommodation, resolve issues efficiently and effectively, and be conducted in a consistent and fair manner.