Due to the labor-intensive nature of mining, the health, safety, and performance of miners is critical to the success of the industry. The U.S. Bureau of Mines has conducted research on accident risk associated with performance of vigilance tasks in surface mining occupations. Over one-third of all surface mining occupations were judged to require extreme to high levels of vigilance for proper task performance. Through accident data analysis of all reported mining accidents available on the Mine Safety and Health Administration accident data base for the year 1986, it was determined that the occupational accident severity level for those employed in high-vigilance surface mining jobs was about twice that for low-vigilance surface mining occupations, based on actual days lost and statutory days charged. This difference in accident severity level was analyzed with respect to the nature of the task activity involved. It was shown that accident severity is higher for employees in high-vigilance groups, even for activities that only require low vigilance to perform. These findings support the conclusion that vigilance demands in mining represent a distinct safety risk which may persist for different types of tasks and activities.