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Utah miners experience fatality-free year in 2012

Published January 31, 2013 2:07 pm

Accidents • Thirty-six deaths nationally represent the lowest fatality rate ever.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

No Utahns were among the 36 miners killed on the job in 2012, the second consecutive year in which the national mining fatality rate reached an all-time low.

Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) boss Joseph Main said Thursday that 19 coal miners were killed in U.S. workplace accidents, along with 17 people working in metal and nonmetal mines. The 36 fatalities were one more than the all-time best year, 2009. But with an improving economy driving more mining than in 2009, the fatality rate — based on deaths per 200,000 hours worked — declined to its lowest level ever.

Since 2002, 18 miners have died in Utah. Ten of those stemmed from a pair of 2007 implosions at the Crandall Canyon coal mine in Emery County. The last mining-related fatality occurred in 2011 when Allen Sherman died at Bolinder Resources' crushing plant in Tooele County.

"While mining deaths and injuries have reached historic lows," Main said, "more actions are needed to prevent mining injuries, illnesses and deaths."

West Virginia had the biggest loss of life in 2012, with seven miners dying on the job. Kentucky had five, while New York and Alabama each had three fatalities and Montana and Florida had two apiece.

Accidents involving powered haulage equipment caused the greatest loss of life, 10 miners, followed by mishaps with machinery (six), slips or falls (six) and rock falls (five).

Main noted that nine supervisors died last year, "a much higher percentage than in previous years and cause for concern." He added that a dozen fatalities involved people with less than a year's experience at their mine or a job, highlighting the need for "appropriate training."

mikeg@sltrib.com

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Utah mining deaths

2011 • 1

2010 • 1

2008 • 1

2007 • 10

2006 • 2

2004 • 2

2002 • 1

Source: Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration