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Coal Operator Mining Facts - 2008 (HTML)

DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2011–163

Mining Operations

In 2008, a total of 2,129 coal mining operations reported employment to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). [1]  Coal mines comprised 14.3% of all mining operations.

  • Bituminous mines comprised 92.5% (n=1,970) and anthracite mines 7.5% (n=159) of coal mining operations.
  • Approximately 73% of all coal mines were located in three states: Kentucky (n=656; 30.8%), West Virginia (n=479; 22.5%), and Pennsylvania (n=425; 20.0%).

Employees

A total of 90,055 employees [2] corresponding to 100,178 full-time equivalent (FTE) [3] employees were reported by coal mine operators to MSHA.

  • Within the mining sectors, [4] coal operations comprised 29.4% of all employee hours reported.
  • Underground work locations accounted for 45.8% of employee hours, while surface work locations accounted for 54.2% [5].

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 and 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

Eighteen occupational fatalities occurred among coal operator employees in 2008, compared to 28 in 2007.

  • Fatalities among coal operator employees accounted for 34.6% of all mining fatalities.
  • The coal operator fatality rate was 18.7 [95% confidence interval (CI): 11.1, 29.5] fatalities per 100,000 FTE employees. The underground fatality rate was 26.2 [CI: 13.5, 45.7] (n=12) compared to a rate of 11.9 [CI: 4.4, 25.9] (n=6) for 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 17 16 31 12 11 13 14 36 18 12
Surface number 12 12 5 8 11 10 3 6 10 6

Nonfatal Lost-time Injuries

There were 2,871 nonfatal lost-time injuries (2,103 at underground and 768 at surface work locations) among coal operator employees occurring at an overall rate of 3.0 [CI: 2.9, 3.1] injuries per 100 FTE employees.  These injuries resulted in 171,021 days lost from work [6] comprising 44.7% of days lost across all mining sectors.

  • The underground nonfatal lost-time injury rate was greater than the surface injury rate (4.6 [CI: 4.4, 4.8] vs. 1.5 [CI: 1.4, 1.6] per 100 FTE workers).
  • The most frequent classification of nonfatal lost-time injuries for coal operator employees involved handling material (n=816; 28.4%).
  • Sprains and strains were the most frequently reported nature of injury (n=1,230; 42.8%).
  • The back was the most frequently reported body part injured (n=472; 16.4%) and accounted for 28,329 days lost from work.

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

Click on the image to enlarge.

Distribution of nonfatal lost-time injuries by accident class among coal operator employees in 2008
Accident ClassPercent
Handling materials 28.4
Slip or fall of person 22.7
Powered haulage 11.9
Machinery 11.9
Fall of ground 11.8
Hand tools 5.7
All other 7.6

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

Commodity and Type of EmployerNumber 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 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. 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), auger, culm banks, 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.

 

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