The United States Department of Labor - Mine Safety & Health  Administration (MSHA)

Reports Mining fatalities fall to all-time low in 2009

Preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) released today indicate that mine fatalities in 2009 fell to an all-time low for the second straight year. Coal mines recorded 18 mining deaths, and metal/nonmetal mines recorded 16 mining deaths, for a combined total of 34 mining deaths nationwide and a significant drop from last year's total of 52 deaths.

Statistical Summary
Number of Documented Mine Disasters
(where 5 or more deaths occurred):
Coal miner deaths
  Mining Disasters
Black Lung kills 1500 Miners a year.
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Kentucky Coal Miners Monument Harlan,Kentucky
Monument is located on the grounds of the Harlan County Courthouse in Harlan, Kentucky.
Statistical Summary
Number of Documented Mine Disasters
(where 5 or more deaths occurred):
Mining accidents can have a variety of causes, including leaks of poisonous gases such as hydrogen sulfide[1] or explosive natural gases, especially firedamp or methane,[2] dust explosions, collapsing of mine stopes, mining-induced seismicity,[3] flooding, or general mechanical errors from improperly used or malfunctioning mining equipment (such as safety lamps or electrical equipment). Use of imprope explosives underground can also trigger methane and coal dust explosion.

Falls of ground remain the greatest single hazard faced by underground miners. They caused nearly 50% of fatal injuries. When coal is first mined, large pillars coal are left to support the rock between the mine and surface. When these pillars are removed, the ground collapses.

Data has been recorded and documented that in the United States alone 717 mining disasters have occurred with incidents with five or more fatalities. This data does not reflect incidental accidents.
In Memorandum
A Monument dedicated to the Harlan County Coal Miners who lost their lives in mining accidents.  Picture donated to this web site by Jennifer Cassim Farmer.
Coal Miners in Kentucky
Methane and coal dust explosions have caused the largest mining disasters in History and frequently kill or trap underground miners.