Metal Operator Mining Facts - 2008 (HTML)
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2009–164
In 2008, a total of 293 metal mining operations reported employment to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).  Metal mines were the smallest mining sector, comprising 2.0% of all mining operations.
- Gold mines comprised 45.4% (n=133) of all metal mining operations. Other common types of metal mines were iron ore (n=40; 13.7%) and copper ore (n=38; 13.0%).
- Nevada had the largest number of metal mines (n=47; 16.0%, followed by Alaska (n=32; 10.9%).
- Within the mining sectors,  metal mine operator employees accounted for 11.9% of all employee hours reported to MSHA.
- Metal operator employee hours were reported for both underground (14.4%) and surface (85.6%) work locations. .
|Commodity and Type|
|Sand and Gravel Operator||78.9||78.1||77.0||75.3||74.8||76.6||78.4||79.6||76.7||66.7|
Five occupational fatalities occurred among metal mine operator employees in 2008, compared to seven fatalities in 2007
- The metal mine operator fatality rate was 13.8 [95% confidence interval (CI): 4.5, 32.2] fatalities per 100,000 FTE employees.
Nonfatal Lost-time Injuries
There were 812 nonfatal lost-time injuries (163 at underground and 649 at surface work locations) among metal operator employees occurring at an overall rate of 2.2 [CI: 2.1, 2.4] injuries per 100 FTE employees. A total of 40,598 days lost from work  resulted from these injuries.
- The underground nonfatal lost-time injury rate was greater than the surface injury rate (2.8 [CI:2.4, 3.2] vs. 2.1 [CI: 2.0, 2.3] per 100 FTE workers).
- The most frequent classification of nonfatal lost-time injuries involved handling materials (n=230; 28.3%), followed by slip or fall of person (n=222; 27.3%).
- Sprains and strains were the most frequently reported nature of injury (n=401; 49.4%).
- The back was the most frequently reported body part injured (n=148; 18.2%) and accounted for 5,409 days lost from work.
|Slip or fall of person||27.3|
Mine characteristics, 2008
|Commodity and Type of Employer||Underground Mining Operations ||Surface Mining Operations ||Total Mining Operations |
|Sand & Gravel||Not applicable||7,132||7,132|
Contractor characteristics, 2008
|Commodity and Type of Employer||Number of Companies|
Employment characteristics, 2008
|Commodity and Type of Employer||Underground Employees ||Surface Employees ||Total Employees ||Underground FTE Employees ||Surface FTE Employees ||Total FTE Employees |
|Sand & Gravel Operator||Not applicable||42,307||42,307||Not applicable||33,343||33,343|
Mining Occupational Fatalities (per 100,000 FTE employees), 2008
|Commodity and Type of Employer||Underground Fatalities||Underground Fatality Rate||Surface Fatalities||Surface Fatality Rate||Fatalities||Fatality Rate|
|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|
|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|
Nonfatal Lost-time Injuries (per 100 FTE employees), 2008
|Commodity and Type of Employer||Underground Injuries||Underground Injury Rate||Surface Injuries||Surface Injury Rate||Injuries||Injury Rate|
|Sand & Gravel Operator||Not applicable||Not applicable||550||1.9||550||1.9|
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.
- Mines at which only independent contractors were working did not show any employment and were not counted.
- Average number of employees working at individual mines during calendar quarters of active operations (includes office workers).
- Full-time equivalent employees computed using reported employee hours (2,000 hours = 1 FTE).
- Mining sectors include coal operators, metal operators, nonmetal operators, stone operators, sand and gravel operators, coal contractors, and noncoal contractors.
- 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.
- 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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