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MSHA: 2012 brings record low mining fatalities, injuries

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According to preliminary data the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration announced today, fatality and injury rates in U.S. mines are at a record low.

The data will be included in "MSHA at a Glance," where citizens can see information on inspections, violations, mines and miners under the "Fact Sheets" section of msha.gov.

According to MSHA, in 2012, the fatality rate was .0107 deaths per 200,000 hours worked. The rate of reported injuries was 2.56 per 200,000 hour worked.

"These preliminary numbers clearly show that actions undertaken by MSHA and the mining industry continue to move mine safety in the right direction, with improvements in compliance with the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, and a reduction in injury and fatality rates," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.

About 35 miners died on the job in 2012, and about 19 of those were in coal mining. The 19 coal deaths in 2012 were the second-lowest number of fatalities recorded in a year.

"While one death is too many, and there are still improvements needed to reduce injuries, it is important to take a moment and acknowledge progress towards those goals," Main wrote on the MSHA website.

Main also noted that the coal mining industry saw some decrease in the number of mines and in coal production between 2011 and 2012. Despite the decrease, the number of coal miners employed in 2012 was the second highest for any year since 1994.