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Overall Mining Facts 2008 (HTML)

DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2011–161

Mining Operations

In 2008, a total of 14,907 mining operations reported employment data to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). [1]  Almost half (47.8%) were sand and gravel mines, followed by stone mines (31.1%), coal mines (14.3%), nonmetal mines (4.8%), and metal mines (2.0%).

Employees

There were 273,496 mine operator employees, [2] or 274,212 full-time equivalent (FTE) [3] workers.  For mine operators, 20.6% of the employee hours were for underground work locations, while 79.4% of the employee hours were for surface work locations. [4]

Of the 199,223 independent contractor employees (or 66,407 FTE workers), 36.7% were coal contractor employees and 63.6% were noncoal contractor employees.

Graph of the number of employee hours by commodity, 1999-2008 (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
1999200020012002200320042005200620072008
Coal Operator 170.3 157.3 168.4 163.8 157.1 166.5 181.3 189.0 186.5 200.4
Metal Operator 83.4 77.4 68.8 58.5 55.5 59.5 63.4 67.9 75.5 81.4
Nonmetal Operator 54.7 53.1 50.6 47.5 46.9 46.9 46.2 46.4 46.5 46.5
Stone Operator 167.8 168.5 166.1 161.7 160.0 163.5 168.6 170.8 166.5 153.5
Sand & Gravel Operator 78.9 78.1 77.0 75.3 74.8 76.6 78.4 79.6 76.7 66.7
Coal Contractor 35.4 36.2 40.3 36.5 35.0 38.5 43.0 46.2 45.5 52.6
Noncoal Contractor 47.8 54.2 49.8 39.2 39.9 46.8 54.1 62.6 76.3 80.2

Fatalities

In 2008, there were 52 occupational mining fatalities with a rate of 16.8 [95% confidence interval (CI): 12.5, 22.0] per 100,000 FTE workers.

  • The fatality rate for mine operator employees was 14.2 [CI: 9.9, 19.7] (n=35; 67.3%), while the rate for contractor employees was 27.1 [CI: 15.8, 43.4] (n=17; 32.7%.)
  • Coal contractors had the highest fatality rate 48.3 [CI: 25.0, 84.4] (n=12; 23.1%), followed by coal operators 18.7 [CI: 11.1%, 29.5] (n=18; 34.6%), metal operators 13.8 [CI: 4.5, 32.2] (n=5; 9.6%), and noncoal contractors 13.2 [CI: 4.5, 32.5] (n=5; 9.6%).
  • The fatality rate at underground work locations was 32.0 [CI: 19.5, 49.4] per 100,000 FTE workers (n=20; 38.5%) compared to 12.9 [CI: 8.8, 18.3] (n=32; 61.5%) at surface work locations.

Graph of the number and rate of fatalities by mine worker location, 1999-2008 (see data table below)

Click on the image to enlarge.

Data for the previous chart showing the number of fatalities and their rates for underground and surface work locations by year
Fatalities1999200020012002200320042005200620072008
Underground number 30 26 40 18 16 16 20 37 27 20
Surface number 60 59 32 48 40 39 37 36 40 32
Underground rate 58.6 54.7 79.8 39.1 35.7 33.2 37.7 66.0 47.2 32.0
Surface rate 25.3 25.2 13.9 22.1 18.9 17.5 15.7 14.6 16.1 12.9

Nonfatal Lost-time Injuries

There were 7,348 nonfatal lost-time injuries in 2008 (2,600 at underground and 4,748 at surface work locations).  These injuries occurred at an overall rate of 2.4 [CI: 2.3, 2.4] per 100 FTE workers and resulted in a total of 382,210 days lost from work. [5]

  • The underground nonfatal lost-time injury rate was greater than the surface injury rate (4.2 [CI: 4.0, 4.3] vs. 1.9 [CI: 1.9, 2.0] per 100 FTE workers).
  • The back was the most frequently reported body part injured, accounting for 1,240 nonfatal lost-time injuries, 58,561 days lost from work, and 15.3% of all days lost.
  • Sprains and strains were the most frequently reported nature of injury (n=3,167; 43.1%).

Chart of the distribution of nonfatal lost-time injuries by accident class, 2008 (see data table below)

Click on the image to enlarge.

Distribution of nonfatal lost-time injuries by accident class for 2008
Accident ClassPercent
Handling materials 31.3
Slip or fall of person 24.9
Machinery 11.1
Powered haulage 10.3
Hand tools 8.4
Fall of ground 5.6
All other 8.4

Mining operations, 2008

Commodity and Type of EmployerUnderground Mining Operations [1]Surface Mining Operations [1]Total Mining Operations [1]
Coal 665 1,464 2,129
Metal 105 188 293
Nonmetal 44 676 720
Stone 111 4,522 4,633
Sand & Gravel Not applicable 7,132 7,132
Total 925 13,982 14,907

Contracting companies, 2008

CommodityNumber of Companies
Coal 3,467
Noncoal 6,128
Total 9,595

Employment characteristics, 2008

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 40,370 49,685 90,055 45,866 54,312 100,178
Metal Operator 5,844 33,282 39,126 5,842 34,840 40,682
Nonmetal Operator 2,579 20,454 23,033 2,725 20,534 23,260
Stone Operator 1,875 77,100 78,975 2,029 74,720 76,749
Sand & Gravel Operator Not applicable 42,307 42,307 Not applicable 33,343 33,343
Operator Total 50,668 222,828 273,496 56,462 217,750 274,212
Coal Contractor 6,262 37,510 43,772 4,105 22,216 26,321
Noncoal Contractor 2,992 72,459 75,451 1,998 38,088 40,086
Contractor Total 9,254 109,969 119,223 6,103 60,304 66,407
Total 59,922 332,797 392,719 62,565 278,054 340,620

Mining Occupational Fatalities (per 100,000 FTE employees), 2008

Commodity and Type of EmployerUnderground FatalitiesUnderground Fatality RateSurface FatalitiesSurface Fatality RateFatalitiesFatality Rate
Coal Operator 12 26.2 6 11.9 18 18.7
Metal Operator 3 Not calculated 2 Not calculated 5 13.8
Nonmetal Operator 1 Not calculated 1 Not calculated 2 Not calculated
Stone Operator 1 Not calculated 6 9.4 7 10.6
Sand & Gravel Operator Not applicable Not applicable 3 Not calculated 3 Not calculated
Operator Total 17 30.1 18 9.4 35 14.2
Coal Contractor 3 Not calculated 9 43.4 12 48.3
Noncoal Contractor 0 Not calculated 5 13.9 5 13.2
Contractor Total 3 Not calculated 14 24.7 17 27.1
Total 20 32.0 32 12.9 52 16.8

Nonfatal Lost-time Injuries (per 100 FTE employees), 2008

Commodity and Type of EmployerUnderground InjuriesUnderground Injury RateSurface InjuriesSurface Injury RateInjuriesInjury Rate
Coal Operator 2,103 4.6 768 1.5 2,871 3.0
Metal Operator 163 2.8 649 2.1 812 2.2
Nonmetal Operator 95 3.5 412 2.4 507 2.5
Stone Operator 33 1.6 1,593 2.5 1,626 2.5
Sand & Gravel Operator Not applicable Not applicable 550 1.9 550 1.9
Operator Total 2,394 4.2 3,972 2.1 6,366 2.6
Coal Contractor 168 4.1 313 1.5 481 1.9
Noncoal Contractor 38 1.9 463 1.3 501 1.3
Contractor Total 206 3.4 776 1.4 982 1.6
Total 2,600 4.2 4,748 1.9 7,348 2.4

Not calculated when N is less than 5. 95% CI for rates reported above. Totals may not sum due to independent rounding.

Data source: Publicly released employment and accident/injury/illness data 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. 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 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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