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Underground and Surface Mining Facts - 2007 (HTML)

DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2009–158

Mining Operations

Data obtained from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) indicated a total of 889 underground (6.0%) and 13,982 surface (94.0%) mining operations. [1]

Employees

A total of 55,617 employees, [2] or 57,222 full-time equivalent (FTE) [3] employees, were reported to MSHA as working at underground mining locations in 2007. This is in contrast to 322,506 employees (or 279,541 FTE employees) that were reported as working at surface locations. [4]

  • Surface work location employee hours accounted for 83.0% of all hours reported to MSHA, while 17.0% of employee hours were reported for underground work locations.
  • The majority of surface employee hours were for mine operator employees (80.0%) as opposed to independent contractor employees (20.0%).
  • Coal operators were the mining sector [5] reporting the most underground worker employee hours to MSHA (n=84,475,287; 73.8%).

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 worker location and year
Work Location1998199920002001200220032004200520062007
All 655.0 638.1 624.9 621.0 582.7 569.2 598.2 635.1 662.5 673.5
Surface 543.3 535.8 529.8 520.7 490.6 479.7 501.8 529.0 550.4 559.1
Underground 111.8 102.4 95.1 100.3 92.1 89.6 96.4 106.1 112.1 114.1

Fatalities

Of the 67 occupational mining fatalities reported to MSHA in 2007, 27 occurred at underground work locations, while 40 occurred at surface locations.

  • The fatality rate of 47.2 per 100,000 FTE employees was higher at underground work locations, compared to the rate of 16.1 for surface work locations.

Pie charts showing the distribution of mining fatalities by work location, 2007 (see data table below)

Click on the image to enlarge.

Data for the previous pie chart showing the number and percent of fatalities by worker location
FatalitiesNumberPercent
Underground 27 40.3
Surface 40 59.7

 

Data for the previous underground worker location pie chart showing the number and percent of fatalities by commodity
FatalitiesNumberPercent
Coal operator 18 66.7
Metal operator 3 11.1
Nonmetal operator 1 3.7
Stone operator 0 0.0
Sand & gravel operator 0 0.0
Coal contractor 3 11.1
Noncoal contractor 2 7.4

 

Data for the previous surface worker location pie chart showing the number and percent of fatalities by commodity
FatalitiesNumberPercent
Coal operator 10 25.0
Metal operator 4 10.0
Nonmetal operator 0 0.0
Stone operator 8 20.0
Sand & gravel operator 5 12.5
Coal contractor 3 7.5
Noncoal contractor 10 25.0

Nonfatal Lost-time Injuries

Within underground work locations, 2,645 nonfatal lost-time injuries were reported, resulting in 170,584 lost workdays. [6] This compares to 5,097 nonfatal lost-time injuries attributed to surface workers (total days lost = 255,635).

  • The overall underground nonfatal lost-time injury rate was greater than the surface injury rate (4.6 vs. 2.0 per 100 FTE workers).
  • The most frequent classification of nonfatal lost-time injuries involved handling materials for both underground (n=719; 27.2%) and surface (n=1,773; 34.8%) work locations.
  • The back was the most frequently reported body part injured at both underground (n=414; 15.7%) and surface (n=957; 18.8%) work locations.

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 number of nonfatal lost-time injuries and rate (per 100 FTE employees) by worker location and year
Injuries1998199920002001200220032004200520062007
Underground number 4,810 4,103 3,854 3,570 3,306 2,818 2,753 2,772 2,739 2,645
Surface number 7,322 6,881 6,985 6,379 6,052 5,504 5,386 5,538 5,249 5,097
Underground rate 8.6 8.0 8.1 7.1 7.2 6.3 5.7 5.2 4.9 4.6
Surface rate 3.1 2.9 3.0 2.8 2.8 2.6 2.4 2.4 2.1 2.0

 

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. Mining sectors include coal operators, metal operators, nonmetal operators, stone operators, sand and gravel operators, coal contractors, and noncoal contractors.
  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.

 

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