Coal mining is the most dangerous occupation in the United States, with injury frequency and severity rates several times the average for all industries. Although mine safety improved slightly during the early 1970's, recent trends indicate small decreases in accidents and injuries and, in some cases, increases in accident severity. Experienced miners have lower risks of fatal injuries than inexperienced miners. Workers in small mines are more likely to receive fatal injuries than those in large mines. The various engineering methods of extracting coal from its natural deposit do not produce different fatality rates. The thickness of the coal seam mined is not related to the incidence of fatalities. Although conflicting evidence appears in the literature, recent studies find younger miners with much higher disabling injury rates than older miners. Whether a collective bargaining agreement is in effect is unrelated to accident and injury occurrence at a mine site. Studies of the relationships of accident and injuries to the effectiveness of safety training, the number of shifts each day at a mine site, and the time elapsed during a shift until an accident occurs have produced ambiguous results, often as a result of analysis of inadequate data.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Human Factors and Ergonomics
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health