Recent Developments In Coal Mining Safety In The United States
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Recent Developments In Coal Mining Safety In The United States

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    Proceedings of the 20th International Mining Congress of Turkey (IMCET 2007), Ankara, Turkey, June 6-8, 2007. Karpuz C, Hindistan MA, Tercan AE, eds., Ankara, Turkey: Chamber of Mining Engineers of Turkey, 2007 Jun; :3-12
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    This paper briefly describes the progress in mine safety in the United States, with emphasis on recent events that have followed since the explosion at the Sago Mine in January 2006. Legislation following the mine accidents last year and areas of work carried out by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) related to the accidents are discussed. American coal production in 2006 was 1,150 million short tons. Most of this coal is consumed domestically, with annual exports of coal about 50 million tons. One third of annual production is produced at surface mines and the rest from underground. This coal is produced by about 82,000 miners working at 1,400 coal mines. Major improvements in coal mine safety have been made in the US since the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. The fatal injury rate in underground coal mines between 1977 and 2004 was reduced by 47.8% to 0.036. The annual number of fatalities dropped from 112 to 14 during that period. Likewise, the non-fatal days-lost injury rate was reduced by 42.6% from 10.87 to 6.24. The improvements in mine safety during this period can be seen in the graph of underground coal mine explosion fatalities and injuries from 1980 to present, which is shown in Figure 1. Between 1984 and 1993 (9 year period) there were 5 explosions and one major mine fire, for a total of 55 fatalities. Over the seven year period from 1993 to 1999 there were no fatalities from coal mine fires and explosions. However, in the six years since 2000 there have been 5 explosions and one fire, which have caused 37 fatalities. [ ]
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