The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reports that 27 mining fatalities occurred in 2018 – the second lowest number ever recorded. Eighteen fatalities occurred at surface operations; nine occurred in underground mines. Approximately 250,000 miners work across 12,000 U.S. metal/nonmetal mines, and 83,000 miners work in the nation’s 1,200 coal mines.
The leading cause of fatalities was powered haulage, which accounted for 13 fatalities or (48%) of the annual total. The agency said it has taken action to counter powered haulage fatalities, including publishing a Request for Information seeking stakeholder input on technologies and practices that can improve safety conditions related to mobile equipment and belt conveyors. MSHA also launched a campaign to educate miners and mine operators on the hazards associated with such equipment.
As of 2019, MSHA no longer separates coal and metal/nonmetal fatalities in this space. In 2017 and 2016, the fatality rates for U.S. miners were 28 and 25 respectively.