Historical Mine Disasters

A mining disaster is defined as an incident with 5 or more fatalities. The following data tables summarize all U.S. mining disasters from 1839 through present. Graphs are provided from 1900 through the last complete calendar year. 

Data Tables of Mine Disasters (1839 to Present)

Table of All Mine Disasters, 1839 to PresentHistorical Mine Disasters: Data table of 726 mining disasters (incidents with 5 or more fatalities). The last mine disaster occurred on 4/5/2010.

Table of Coal Mine Disasters, 1839 to PresentHistorical Coal Mine Disasters: Data table of 623 coal mining disasters (incidents with 5 or more fatalities). The last coal mine disaster occurred on 4/5/2010.

Table of metal/nonmetal mine disasters, 1839 to PresentHistorical Metal/Nonmetal Mine Disasters: Data table of 103 metal/nonmetal (includes metal, nonmetal, stone, and sand & gravel) mining disasters (incidents with 5 or more fatalities). The last metal/nonmetal mine disaster occurred on 6/8/1979.

 

Graphs of Mine Disasters (1900-2016)

All Mining Disasters, 1900-2015Historical Mine Disasters, 1900-2016: This graph displays mining disaster incidents and fatalities from 1900 through 2016. A mining disaster is an incident with 5 or more fatalities. During the period, there were 591 mining disaster incidents resulting in 12,800 fatalities.

Coal Mining Disasters, 1900-2016Historical Coal Mine Disasters, 1900-2016: This graph displays mining disaster incidents and fatalities from 1900 through 2016. A mining disaster is an incident with 5 or more fatalities. During the period, there were 509 mining disaster incidents resulting in 11,719 fatalities.

Metal/Nonmetal Mining Disasters, 1900-2016Historical Metal/Nonmetal Mine Disasters, 1900-2016: This graph displays mining disaster incidents and fatalities from 1900 through 2016. A mining disaster is an incident with 5 or more fatalities. During the period, there were 82 mining disaster incidents resulting in 1,161 fatalities. The metal/nonmetal sector includes metal, nonmetal, stone, and sand and gravel mines.

 

Sources

Data for the graphs and tables above came from the following publications:

  • Bureau of Mines Bulletin 509, Injury Experience in Coal Mining, 1948
  • Bureau of Mines Bulletin 616, Historical Documentation of Major Coal-Mine Disasters in the United States Not Classified as Explosions of Gas or Dust: 1846-1962
  • Bureau of Mines Bulletin 586; Historical Summary of Coal-Mine Explosions in the United States, 1810-1958
  • Bureau of Mines I.C. 7493, Major Disasters at Metal and Nonmetal Mines and Quarries in the United States (Excluding Coal Mines)
  • Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States, Volume I, Coal Mines, 1810-1958 (MSHA)
  • Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States, Volume II, Coal Mines, 1959-1998 (MSHA)
  • Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States, Volume III, Metal and Nonmetal Mines, 1885-1998 (MSHA)
  • Mine Disasters, OT 32, 2000 (MSHA)
  • 1998-present, MSHA Fatalgrams and Fatality Reports
  • Newspaper article citations from the archives at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy Library, Beckley, West Virginia (Historical Mining Disasters by Jane DeMarchi)
  • Historical Data on Mine Disasters in the United States (MSHA)

 


Page last reviewed: 1/13/2017 Page last updated: 1/13/2017