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Metal Operator Mining Facts - 2007 (HTML)

DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2009–160

Mining Operations

In 2007, a total of 278 metal mining operations reported employment to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). [1] Metal mines were the smallest mining commodity sector, comprising 1.9% of all mining operations.

  • Gold mines comprised 44.6% (n=124) of all metal mining operations. Other common types of metal mines were iron ore (n=36; 12.9%) and copper ore (n=35; 12.6%).
  • Nevada had the largest number of metal mines (n=45; 16.2%), followed by Alaska (n=28; 10.1%).

Employees

A total of 36,000 employees, [2] corresponding to 37,746 full-time equivalent (FTE) [3] employees, were reported by metal mine operators.

  • Within the mining sectors, [4] metal operators accounted for 11.2% of all employee hours reported to MSHA.
  • Metal operator employee hours were reported for both underground (14.4%) and surface (85.6%) work locations. [5]

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

Seven occupational fatalities occurred among metal mine operator employees in 2007, compared to three fatalities in 2006.

  • The metal mine operator fatality rate was 21.1 fatalities per 100,000 FTE employees.

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 0 1 1 0 3
Surface number 1 1 4 3 4
Underground rate 0.0 26.2 23.9 0.0 55.2
Surface rate 4.8 4.5 17.0 11.9 14.4

Nonfatal Lost-time Injuries

There were 798 nonfatal lost-time injuries (178 at underground and 620 at surface work locations) among metal operator employees occurring at an overall rate of 2.4 injuries per 100 FTE employees. A total of 40,696 days lost from work, [6] resulted from these injuries.

  • The underground nonfatal lost-time injury rate was greater than the surface injury rate (3.3 vs. 2.2 per 100 FTE workers).
  • The most frequent classification of nonfatal lost-time injuries for metal operator employees in­volved handling materials (n=249; 31.2%).
  • Sprains and strains were the most frequently reported nature of injury (n=410; 51.4%).
  • The back was the most frequently reported body part injured (n=122; 15.3%) and accounted for 5,070 days lost from work.

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 249 31.2
Slip or fall of person 219 27.4
Machinery 92 11.5
Powered haulage 85 10.7
Hand tools 63 7.9
All other 90 11.3
Total 798 100.0

 

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. Mining sectors include coal operators, metal operators, nonmetal operators, stone operators, sand and gravel operators, coal contractors, and noncoal contractors.
  5. Surface work locations include surface operations at underground mines, surface operations (strip or open pit), dredge, other surface operations, independent shops and yards, and mills or preparation plants.
  6. 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.

To receive NIOSH documents or more information about occupational safety and health topics, contact NIOSH at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636), TTY: 1-888-232-6348, e-mail: cdcinfo@cdc.gov, or visit the NIOSH Web site.

 

 
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