Mining Publication: Characteristics of the top five most frequent injuries in United States mining operations, 2003-2007
Many injuries common to all mines, mine locations and commodities can be identified and their most prominent attributes highlighted through ranked lists by frequency. In the absence of more detailed, cause-specific incidence rates, such rankings can reveal general trends of mine injuries and classify them by nature, accident type and class. Most frequently injured miners by age group, activity, and job title can provide valuable indicators not only of hazards and the problems that contribute to them, but also potential solutions. From the miner’s point of view, training, task and mine design, job hazard analysis, personal protective equipment and a variety of related measures can provide prevention for each such group of injuries on a one-by-one basis. For more systematic and long-term preventive results, research is often valuable in identifying solutions common to large groups of injuries. In particular, the patterns highlighted above provide a focal point for research, mine planning and safety and health and the continued reduction of risk for U.S. miners. In addition, groups of injuries with common causes provide useful baselines for evaluating the effectiveness of interventions. A general engineering control that facilitates safe operation of a mining machine, for example, can be evaluated using a pre- and post-intervention design. Such controls can then be evaluated using MSHA surveillance data, without developing costly reporting systems. Further work is planned to investigate those groups of injuries displaying the largest differences between underground and surface.