An analysis of injury claims from low-seam coal mines
Description:Introduction: The restricted workspace present in low-seam coal mines forces workers to adopt awkward working postures (kneeling and stooping), which place high physical demands on the knee and lower back. Method: This article provides an analysis of injury claims for eight mining companies operating low-seam coal mines during calendar years 1996-2008. All cost data were normalized using data on the cost of medical care (MPI) as provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Results: Results of the analysis indicate that the knee was the body part that led in terms of claim cost ($4.2 million), followed by injuries to the lower back ($2.7 million). While the average cost per injury for these body parts was $13,100 and $14,400, respectively (close to the average cost of an injury overall), the high frequency of these injuries resulted in their pre¬eminence in terms of cost. Analysis of data from individual mining companies suggest that knee and lower back injuries were a consistent problem across companies, as these injuries were each among the top five most costly part of body for seven out of eight companies studied. Application/Impact: Results of this investigation suggest that efforts to reduce the frequency of knee and low back injuries in low-seam mines have the potential to create substantial cost savings.
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