Historical Mine Disasters
A mining disaster is defined as an incident with 5 or more fatalities. The following graphs and tables summarize all U.S. mining disasters from 1839 to present. The data behind the graphs in the first section can be found in the data tables in the second section.
Graphs of Mining Disasters (1900-2013)
All Mining Disasters: During this period, there were 591 mining disaster incidents resulting in 12,880 fatalities.
Coal Mining Disasters: During this period, there were 509 coal mining disaster incidents resulting in 11,719 fatalities.
Metal/Nonmetal Mining Disasters: During this period, there were 82 metal/nonmetal mining disaster incidents resulting in 1,161 fatalities. The metal/nonmetal sector includes metal, nonmetal, stone, and sand and gravel mines.
Data Tables of Mining Disasters (1839 to Present)
All Mining Disasters (last mine disaster: 4/5/2010)
Coal Mining Disasters (last coal mine disaster: 4/5/2010)
Metal/Nonmetal Mining Disasters (last metal/nonmetal mine disaster: 6/8/1979)
Data for the graphs and tables above came from the following publications:
- Bureau of Mines Bulletin 509, Injury Experience in Coal Mining, 1948
- Bureau of Mines Bulletin 616, Historical Documentation of Major Coal-Mine Disasters in the United States Not Classified as Explosions of Gas or Dust: 1846-1962
- Bureau of Mines Bulletin 586; Historical Summary of Coal-Mine Explosions in the United States, 1810-1958
- Bureau of Mines I.C. 7493, Major Disasters at Metal and Nonmetal Mines and Quarries in the United States (Excluding Coal Mines)
- Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States, Volume I, Coal Mines, 1810-1958 (MSHA)
- Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States, Volume II, Coal Mines, 1959-1998 (MSHA)
- Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States, Volume III, Metal and Nonmetal Mines, 1885-1998 (MSHA)
- Mine Disasters, OT 32, 2000 (MSHA)
- 1998-present, MSHA Fatalgrams and Fatality Reports
- Newspaper article citations from the archives at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy Library, Beckley, West Virginia (Historical Mining Disasters by Jane DeMarchi)
- Historical Data on Mine Disasters in the United States (MSHA)