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MSHA Releases Mid-Year Fatality Report; 19 Miners Died in First 6 Months of 2012

Nineteen miners died in the first half of 2012, according to the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration’s mid-year summary.Ten of those deaths were in coal mines (the rest were in metal or nonmetal mines). And five of them were in Kentucky—four of them in coal mines, and one in a limestone mine.According to the release from MSHA: Among 10 coal mining deaths, three resulted from slips or falls, two from rib falls and one each from the following categories: exploding vessels under pressure, drowning, handling materials, machinery and electrical. An uncharacteristic trend identified is that five of these fatalities – three involving mine supervisors – occurred on five consecutive weekends. Among nine metal and nonmetal mining deaths, four were attributed to powered haulage incidents, two were the result of a falling face/rib/highwall, and one each was linked to an accident involving machinery, falling material and a person falling. “While 19 is the second-lowest number of mining deaths recorded in mining midyear, we know that these deaths are preventable,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. “Many mines operate every shift of every day, year in and year out, without a fatality or a lost-time injury. Mining workplaces can and must be made safe for all miners.”The mid-year summary records deaths up until July 1, and there's been one death since: at a coal mine in Colorado. Thirty-seven miners were killed last year.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.