The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) defines an independent contractor as "any person, partnership, corporation, subsidiary of a corporation, firm, association or other organization that contracts to perform services or construction at a mine." Contractors that perform specific types of work are required to report the number of employees who perform work at coal mines and at noncoal mines. In 2002, a total of 4,003 contracting companies reported employment at noncoal mines (metal, nonmetal, sand and gravel, and stone mines) to MSHA. A total of 38,938 noncoal contractor employees, corresponding to 18,533 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, were reported to MSHA in 2002. This is a decrease of 21.4% in FTE noncoal contractor employees from 2001. Six work-related fatalities occurred among noncoal contractor employees in 2002, compared to 10 in 2001. There were 318 nonfatal lost-time injuries among noncoal contractor employees, occurring at a rate of 1.7 per 100 FTE employees in 2002. A total of 16,104 days lost from work resulted from these injuries. Five cases of occupational illness in noncoal contractor employees were reported to MSHA in 2002. There were three cases of heat/sunstroke and one case each of asphyxia and systemic poisoning.
NIOSH Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, P.O. Box 18070, Pittsburgh, PA 15236