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Mining Facts - 2007 (HTML)

DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2009–157

Mining Operations

In 2007, a total of 14,871 mining operations reported employment data to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). [1]  Almost half (48.4%) were sand and gravel mines, followed by stone mines (31.2%), coal mines (13.7%), nonmetal mines (4.9%), and metal mines (1.9%).

Employees

There were 271,414 mine operator employees, [2] or 275,871 full-time equivalent (FTE) [3] workers. For mine operators, 18.9% of the employee hours were for underground work locations, while 81.1% of the employee hours were for surface work locations. [4]

Of the 106,709 independent contractor employees (or 60,892 FTE workers), 36.4% were coal contractor employees and 63.6% were noncoal contractor employees.

Graph of the number of employee hours by commodity, 1998-2007 (see data table below)

Click on the image to enlarge.

Data for the previous chart showing the number of employee hours (in millions) by commodity and year
Commodity and Type
of Employer
1998199920002001200220032004200520062007
Coal Operator 185.4 170.3 157.3 168.4 163.8 157.1 166.5 181.3 189.0 186.5
Metal Operator 93.0 83.4 77.4 68.8 58.5 55.5 59.5 63.4 67.9 75.5
Nonmetal Operator 57.2 54.7 53.1 50.6 47.5 46.9 46.9 46.2 46.4 46.5
Stone Operator 164.8 167.8 168.5 166.1 161.7 160.0 163.5 168.6 170.8 166.5
Sand and Gravel Operator 75.0 78.9 78.1 77.0 75.3 74.8 76.6 78.4 79.6 76.7
Coal Contractor 36.4 35.4 36.2 40.3 36.5 35.0 38.5 43.0 46.2 45.5
Noncoal Contractor 43.3 47.8 54.2 49.8 39.2 39.9 46.8 54.1 62.6 76.3

Fatalities

In 2007, there were 67 occupational mining fatalities, compared to 73 in 2006.  The overall fatality rate was 21.9 per 100,000 FTE workers.

  • The fatality rate for mine operator employees was 19.7 per 100,000 FTE workers (n=49; 73.1%), while the rate for contractor employees was 31.3 (n=18; 26.9%).
  • Noncoal contractors had the highest fatality rate (33.3), followed by coal operators (31.2), coal contractors (28.0), and metal operators (21.1) per 100,000 FTE workers.
  • The fatality rate at underground work locations was 47.2 per 100,000 FTE workers (n=27; 40.3%) compared to the lower rate at surface locations of 16.1 (n=40; 59.7%).

Graph of the number and rate of fatalities by mine worker location, 2003-2007 (see data table below)

Click on the image to enlarge.

Data for the previous chart showing the number and rate of fatalities per 100,000 FTE employees by year
Fatalities20032004200520062007
Underground number 16 16 20 37 27
Surface number 40 39 37 36 40
Underground rate 35.7 33.2 37.7 66.0 47.2
Surface rate 18.9 17.5 15.7 14.6 16.1

Nonfatal Lost-time Injuries

There were 7,742 nonfatal lost-time injuries reported to MSHA in 2007 (2,645 at underground and 5,097 at surface work locations).  These injuries occurred at an overall rate of 2.5 per 100 FTE workers and resulted in a total of 426,219 days lost from work. [5]

  • The underground nonfatal lost-time injury rate was greater than the surface injury rate (4.6 vs. 2.0 per 100 FTE workers).
  • The back continued to be the most frequently reported body part injured, accounting for 1,371 nonfatal lost-time injuries, 77,027 days lost from work, and 18.1 of all days lost.
  • Sprains and strains were the most frequently reported nature of injury (n=3,310; 42.8%).

Chart of the distribution of nonfatal lost-time injuries by accident class, 2007 (see data table below)

Click on the image to enlarge.

Data for the previous chart showing the distribution of nonfatal lost-time injuries by accident class
Accident ClassNumberPercent
Handling materials 2,492 32.2
Slip or fall of person 1,847 23.9
Machinery 805 10.4
Powered haulage 796 10.3
Hand tools 661 8.5
Fall of ground 469 6.1
All other 672 8.7
Total 7,742 100.0

 

Mining operations, 2007

Commodity and Type of EmployerUnderground Mining Operations [1]Surface Mining Operations [1]Total Mining Operations [1]
Coal Operator 631 1,399 2,030
Metal Operator 97 181 278
Nonmetal Operator 48 677 725
Stone Operator 113 4,526 4,639
Sand & Gravel Operator Not applicable 7,199 7,199
Operator Total 889 13,982 14,871

 

Contracting companies, 2007

Commodity and Type of EmployerNumber of Companies
Coal Contractor 2,999
Noncoal Contractor 5,400
Contractor Total 8,399

 

Employment characteristics, 2007

Commodity and Type of EmployerUnderground Employees [2]Surface Employees [2]

Total Employees

[2]

Underground FTE Employees [3]Surface FTE Employees [3]Total FTE Employees [3]
Coal Operator 37,829 46,242 84,071 42,238 51,027 93,265
Metal Operator 5,333 30,667 36,000 5,437 32,309 37,746
Nonmetal Operator 2,411 20,453 22,864 2,478 20,788 23,265
Stone Operator 1,845 80,873 82,718 2,063 81,191 83,254
Sand & Gravel Operator Not applicable 45,761 45,761 Not applicable 38,340 38,340
Operator Total 47,418 223,996 271,414 52,216 223,655 275,871
Coal Contractor 5,160 33,705 38,865 3,071 19,670 22,741
Noncoal Contractor 3,039 64,805 67,844 1,935 36,216 38,151
Contractor Total 8,199 98,510 106,709 5,006 55,886 60,892
Total 55,617 322,506 378,123 57,222 279,541 336,763

 

 

Mining Occupational Fatalities (per 100,000 FTE employees), 2007

Commodity and Type of EmployerUnderground FatalitiesUnderground Fatality RateSurface FatalitiesSurface Fatality RateFatalitiesFatality Rate
Coal Operator 18 42.6 10 21.1 28 31.2
Metal Operator 3 55.2 4 14.4 7 21.1
Nonmetal Operator 1 40.4 0 0.0 1 5.0
Stone Operator 0 0.0 8 11.4 8 11.1
Sand & Gravel Operator Not applicable Not applicable 5 15.0 5 15.0
Operator Total 22 42.1 27 13.8 49 19.7
Coal Contractor 3 97.7 3 16.3 6 28.0
Noncoal Contractor 2 103.4 10 29.3 12 33.3
Contractor Total 5 99.9 13 24.8 18 31.3
Total 27 47.2 40 16.1 67 21.9

 

 

Nonfatal Lost-time Injuries (per 100 FTE employees), 2007

Commodity and Type of EmployerUnderground InjuriesUnderground Injury RateSurface InjuriesSurface Injury RateInjuriesInjury Rate
Coal Operator 2,120 5.0 822 1.7 2,942 3.3
Metal Operator 178 3.3 620 2.2 798 2.4
Nonmetal Operator 91 3.7 417 2.4 508 2.5
Stone Operator 36 1.7 1,844 2.6 1,880 2.6
Sand & Gravel Operator Not applicable Not applicable 657 2.0 657 2.0
Operator Total 2,425 4.6 4,360 2.2 6,785 2.7
Coal Contractor 177 5.8 283 1.5 460 2.1
Noncoal Contractor 43 2.2 454 1.3 497 1.4
Contractor Total 220 4.4 737 1.4 957 1.7
Total 2,645 4.6 5,097 2.0 7,742 2.5

 

 

Data source: Publicly released data files of employment and accident/injury/illness collected by MSHA under 30 CFR 50.

Notes: All analyses of accident data exclude office employees. Occupational fatalities exclude all cases under 17 years of age. Further statistical methodology is available on the NIOSH Internet. Data in the above tables may not add to totals shown because of independent rounding. Caution should be used when interpreting rates based on a small number of events.

  1. Mines at which only independent contractors were working did not show any employment and were not counted.
  2. Average number of employees working at individual mines during calendar quarters of active operations (includes office workers).
  3. Full-time equivalent employees computed using reported employee hours (2,000 hours = 1 FTE).
  4. Surface work locations include surface operations at underground mines, surface operations (strip or open pit), auger, culm banks, dredge, other surface operations, independent shops and yards, and mills or preparation plants.
  5. Includes actual days away from work and/or days of restricted work activity. For permanently disabling injuries only, statutory days charged by MSHA were used if they exceeded the total lost workdays.

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