National Mining Agenda

The “National Mining Agenda: For Occupational Safety and Health Research and Practice in the U. S. Mining Sector” is a strategic plan for research that, when transformed to practice, will enhance the lives of mineworkers. The Agenda is the organized, written output of deliberations by the Mining Sector Council, which is comprised of a diverse group of mine safety and health experts. The Council is open to comments from non-members and these comments have improved the Agenda. As expressed in the vision statement in the agenda,

“Mine safety and health research will provide a workplace where miners will have their quality of life unimpaired by accidents or disease.  Benchmarks for this vision will be progressive and continuously improving, having miners’ occupational safety and health statistics better than any previous year in mining, setting the best practice world-wide, and with individual mine units – large or small – supporting the Vision.”

The Mining Sector Council continues to discuss changes needed in the Agenda derived from a discovery of gaps, changes in technology and systems, and research successes. These discussions may be formalized and, thus, lead to revisions in the published Agenda.

The NORA Mining Sector Council first began consideration of issues in 2010 and published a draft for comments in 2012. Once all comments were received and integrated into the report, a final version was published on the NORA web site in April of 2013. Subsequent discussions showed the need for the inclusion of research objectives and sub-objectives in the domain of data adequacy and analysis. The present document, June2015, sets forth objectives for a National mining health and safety research program and recommends objectives in eight major areas, including disaster prevention, disaster response, health hazards, ventilation, work organization, systems operation and management, human factors, and surveillance. While research to address some of these objectives is underway in the NIOSH mining program, the Agenda is meant to encourage independent organizations or collaborative partnerships to tackle objectives that NIOSH is not currently able to pursue.

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. The NAICS Code for Mining is 21. However in NORA the Mining Sector is defined by the industry segments coded under NAICS Code 212: Mining (except Oil and Gas), which includes the coal mining, metal ore mining, and nonmetallic mineral mining and quarrying segments of the industry, and those sections that apply to these segments coded under NAICS Code 213: Support Activities for Mining. Although Oil and Gas Extraction is included in the NAICS Code 21, a separate NORA group was formed for the Oil and Gas Extraction industry sector.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) provided fatality and injury incidence data for 224,459 employees, but not including officeworkers, of mining companies in 2013, of which 79,836 were in coal mining and 144,623 were in metal and non-metal mining. In addition to those employed directly by mining companies, there were also 114,952 contractors in all mining industries (MSHA, “Mine Injury and Worktime, Quarterly: Closeout Edition,” January-December 2013, Final, 34 pp.  Available at URL:, accessed April 27, 2015). During 2010-2014, 230 miners and contractors were fatally injured in mines, mills, and prep plants ( , accessed April 27, 2015) and many more died from respiratory diseases attributed to occupational exposures in mines. In addition, there were 22,239 lost-time injuries during the four-year period, 2010-2013 (2014 has not yet been reported, ibid.) and of those miners who were examined in the NIOSH’s X-Ray Surveillance Program between 2005 and 2009 that had 25 or more years of experience, the x-rays of nearly one out of every 14 showed evidence of pneumoconiosis (, Table 2-12, accessed April 27, 2015). The NORA Mining Sector Council has developed research objectives aimed at developing the knowledge and technology to prevent the hazards and exposures that lead to deaths, injuries, and diseases in the mining industry.

The NORA Mining Sector Council is interested in comments on the National Mining Agenda. The Council is particularly interested in organizations and individuals who would commit to advancing one or more of these goals through partnerships. Use the following link to review this document. Send all correspondence to the NORA Coordinator (

National Mining Agenda – June 2015 Cdc-pdf[PDF – 762K]

Contact the NORA Coordinator if you have any questions:

Sidney C. Soderholm, PhD
NORA Coordinator
Page last reviewed: March 28, 2018