Peliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration indicate that in 2016, 25 miners died in work-related accidents at the nation’s mines – down from 29 in 2015. The figure represents the lowest number of mining deaths ever recorded and only the second year that mining deaths dropped below 30. Currently, approximately 330,000 miners work in more than 13,000 U.S. mines.
Nine of the 25 fatalities occurred in coal mines – four in West Virginia, two in Kentucky, and one each in Alabama, Illinois and Pennsylvania. The leading causes of death were powered haulage and machinery, which accounted for six of the deaths. In 2015, coal mining deaths fell to 12 – the previous historic low.
A total of 16 deaths were reported in metal and nonmetal mines in 2016. Mississippi and Texas led with two, followed by one each in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. The leading cause of death in these mines was machinery accidents, at four, followed by powered haulage, at three. None of the 16 deaths occurred in underground mining operations. In 2015, 17 miners died in the metal and nonmetal sector.