Fatal injuries at mining operations in the United States last year decreased nearly six percent from the previous year, according to preliminary data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).
Eighty-five miners died in on-the-job accidents in 2000, compared with 90 in 1999.
In the nation''s metal and nonmetal mines, 47 miners died in fatal accidents during 2000 compared to 55 in 1999.
In spite of an overall decrease in deaths, fatalities rose in the coal sector with 38 in 2000 compared to 35 in 1999.
Preliminary data show that of the 38 accidental coal mining deaths last year, 18 occurred in underground coal mines, said MSHA.
The leading cause of coal mining fatalities were powered haulage and machinery, each accounting for 10 deaths, followed by four fatal accidents caused by slips and falls.
Kentucky had the highest number of fatal coal mining accidents with 13. West Virginia followed with 9. Nevada led the nation in metal and nonmetal mining with six fatalities. Texas was next with 4, according to the agency.
Coal miners worked a total of 143.8 million hours through the third quarter of 2000 compared to 156.1 million for the same period of 1999.
Metal and nonmetal miners worked a total of 323.9 million hours through September of this year compared to 324.5 million for the same period of 1999.
by Virginia Sutcliffe