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An overview of groundfall injuries and worker activity in underground stone mines.

Pappas DM; Prosser LJ Jr.
Holmes Saf Assn Bull 2001 Aug; :8-14
Working underground is one of the most hazardous occupations in the United States. Underground mines have a fatality rate of at least 15 times the overall manufacturing rate for the United States. Underground stone mines have a fatality rate that is nearly 20 times the manufacturing national average. Three-quarters of these underground stone fatalities result from falls of ground from the mine roof or rib. Examining only groundfall fatalities in underground stone mines, produces a rate that is 13 times that of the overall manufacturing fatality rate for the United States. These high fatality rates in underground stone mines due to groundfalls are a critical concern. Production from 108 underground stone mines is estimated to range from 70 to 100 million tons per year accounting for 5% to 10% of the nation's output. Economic growth and highway building in particular have resulted in record demand for stone in recent years. This high demand, coupled with increasing constraints on surface mining in some areas, has resulted in operators giving greater consideration to developing stone mines underground. An informal NIOSH survey in 1998 identified approximately 17 new underground limestone operations in various stages of planning. Other sources estimate that as many as 35 new underground mines may be in operation by 2005. In many instances these new mines will employ new or inexperienced workers with minimal knowledge of the potentially hazardous underground conditions that exist. With the potential for developing so many new underground stone mines and the already high groundfall fatality rate, NIOSH examined the worker activity at the time of injury to provide information or insight on possible prevention methods.
Mining industry; Underground mining; Stone mines; Injuries; Injury prevention; Accident prevention; Accident rates; Accidents; Traumatic injuries; Ground control; Ground stability
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Holmes Safety Association Bulletin
Page last reviewed: July 9, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division