Injury Analysis Of Pennsylvania Small Surface Coal Mines
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Injury Analysis Of Pennsylvania Small Surface Coal Mines

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    Introduction This paper is a descriptive analysis of injuries and fatalities at small surface bituminous coalmining companies in Pennsylvania. The purpose of analyzing a specific industry sector and location is to identify issues that might be missed in a wider analysis. Other studies of small mine safety (e.g., Peters and Fotta, 1994, Randolph and Boldt, 1997) have shown that the relationship between safety and mine size is not a simple one. Some injury types occur at higher rates at small mines, while others occur at lower rates. Consequently, an analysis limited to a specific type of mining can help identify hazards and issues specific to that sector. The results of this analysis will be useful for directing training, intervention, and research efforts towards the most prevalent causal factors and incident types. Procedures and Definitions Data sources The primary sources of data for this analysis were files provided by MSHA containing information collected under Title 30 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 50. These files, commonly referred to as Part 50 data , are provided though MSHA s Program Evaluation and Information Resources directorate. Two primary types of injuries were selected from the Part 50data: Fatalities (MSHA degree of injury code 1) and lost-time injuries, otherwise known as nonfatal with days lost (MSHA degree of injury codes 2 through 5). Lost-time injuries involve either actual days away from work or days of restricted activity or both. Fatality and lost-time injury incidence rates were calculated using the standard MSHA formula: Number of injuries per 200,000 employee-hours. Additional information on company sizes and mine ownership was provided by the Pennsylvania State University College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Time span A five-year time span was selected for this study. More than a single year of safety experience is usually needed to capture a broad range of incident types. Many types of injuries, especially fatal injuries, can be extremely rare, and may be missed if too short a time span is selected. However, a time span that extends too far back may begin to suffer historical threats to validity. That is, incidents that occurred several years ago may be caused by hazards that have since been remedied or may be related to mining practices and conditions that no longer exist. A five-year span offers a practical compromise between these two concerns. Consequently, the MSHA Part 50 data files from 1993 through 1997 were used. The 1997 file was in preliminary form at the time of the study, so small variations from the final 1997 close out file can be expected. Based on past experience, we do not expect the close-out variations to have a significant impact on the findings.
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