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MSHA reports second-lowest number of mining fatalities on record

Mining fatalities in 2018 were the second-lowest on record, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The agency reported 27 mining fatalities in 2018, with 18 occurring at surface operations and nine in underground mines. The leading cause of mining fatalities was powered haulage, which covers the transport of personnel and materials, and accounted for just under half of all mining deaths last year.

About 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, says the Department of Labor.

In June 2018, MSHA introduced a proposed rule to reduce the number of surface-level accidents that involve mobile equipment and belt conveyors by providing technical assistance, conducting awareness campaigns and developing best practices and training materials. The comment period for the proposed rule closed in December 2018.