The National Academy of Sciences, in a prior report "toward safer underground coal mines," identified a strong correlation between mine size and fatality rate. That work showed that the fatality rate in mines with fewer than 50 employees was nearly three times that of large mines (those who employ over 250 employees). The current report determines why small mines have a higher fatality rate. The high rate is contributed to several factors that include (1) the intermittent mode of small mine operation, (2) insufficient financial resources, and (3) inadequacies in the training of workers and managers. It was also determined that 85 pct of all small mines are concentrated in Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. It is recommended that the governments of these three states should provide assistance to small mine operators in the form of advice on safety.