By Kevin Yanik
November 1, 2022 - Thirty-seven miners died in accidents last year across the U.S.
According to Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) data, that total is the highest fatalities mark for mining since 2014. Forty-six miners died in coal and metal/nonmetal operations that year.
While 2022 fatalities are trending below last year’s mark through 10 months, they’re still on pace to surpass 30 for the second straight year. Mine fatalities ranged between 25 and 29 between 2015 and 2020, but fatal accidents are up over the last two years industrywide.
Still, fatal accidents deriving from metal/nonmetal operations are down on the year. Based on MSHA data, 16 of this year’s 26 fatal accidents occurred at metal/nonmetal operations. In 2021, a total of 27 miners died at the nation’s metal/nonmetal operations.
Coal, meanwhile, already matched its year-ago mark in 2022, as MSHA data shows 10 fatalities occurred at coal operations this year.
A deeper dive into MSHA data reveals that an abnormally high number of fatal accidents happened at the start of 2022. Twelve miners died in the first quarter, including six in January alone. Following a March 22 accident, nearly three months passed before another miner died in an accident.
According to MSHA, four fatal accidents happened this October.