Mining Publication: Reduced Workers’ Compensation Costs With Roof Screening
Each year, more than 300 underground coal miners are injured or killed by rocks falling from between or around roof supports. Researchers have reported that a reduction in rock fall injuries by implementing wire-mesh roof screens would reduce a mining company’s workers’ compensation (WC) premiums and would offset the annual cost of screen installation. However, the authors calculated these savings using formulas that are not used by all coal mining states, including Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania coal mines may also benefit from reduced WC premiums with roof screening. In this paper, the potential savings in WC premiums that could be achieved due to a reduction in rock fall injuries after roof screening in Pennsylvania’s underground coal mines were quantified. Hypothetical mines (representing two mine sizes: 67 and 150 employees) were constructed with realistic estimates of injuries and WC premiums. Using the Pennsylvania Coal Mine Compensation Rating Bureau’s (PA CMCRB) formulas, total savings in WC premiums after a 3-year period were determined. Savings in WC premiums ranged from 5.1% to 22% when injuries were reduced by 10% to 30%. This translated to savings between $73,000 and $1.2 million, which may largely offset the annual cost of a roof screening program.