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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the Councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was established by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and of advising the federal government. The Council operates in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy under the authority of its congressional charter of 1863, which establishes the Academy as a private, nonprofit, self-governing membership corporation. The Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in the conduct of their services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. It is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine were established in 1964 and 1970, respectively, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences. This study was supported by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, Department of the Interior, under Contract J0100145. Available from: U.S. Bureau of Mines Columbia Plaza 2401 E Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20241

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COMMITTEE ON UNDERGROUND COAL MINE SAFETY WERNEST M. SPOKES, Chairman, Professor of Mining Engineering, University of Missouri, Rolla, Missouri I. W. ABEL, Retired President, United Steelworkers of America, Sun City, Arizona HEINZ H. DAMBERGER, Geologist, Illinois State Geological Survey, Urbana, Illinois RUSSELL DeREAMER, Manager, Safety, Industrial Hygiene, Emergency Control (retired), IBM Data Systems Division, White Plains, New York ALAN R. DIMICK, Surgeon, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama STEPHEN W. LAGAKOS, Associate Professor of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts HELEN M. LEWIS, Sociologist, Dungannon, Virginia WILLIAM H. MIERNYK, Economist, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia MORELL E. MULLINS, Professor, School of Law, University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Arkansas GERALD I. SUSMAN, Professor of Organizational Behavior, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania FREDERICK D. WRIGHT, Professor of Mining Engineering (retired), University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky DAVID A. ZEGEER, Mining Consultant, Lexington, Kentucky 111

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Liaison Representatives GEORGE R. BOCKOSH, U.S. Bureau of Mines, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania JOHN GREENHALGH, Mine Safety and Health Administration, Arlington, Virginia Technical Assistants LESLIE I. BODEN, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts JOHN KOGUT, Health and Safety Analysis Center, Denver, Colorado Staff officer MILTON W. ROSEN, National Research Council, Washington, D.C. IV

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CONTENTS 1 INTRODUCTION 1 2 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 3 3 STATISTICAL ANALYSES OF SMALL UNDERGROUND COAL MINES 6 APPENDIX A..................................... ............ 17

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1 INTRODUCTION In July 1982 the Committee on Underground Coal Mine Safety completed its study of safety in U.S. underground coal mines; the results of the study were published in the National Research Council report entitled Toward Safer Underground Coal Mines. One of the findings of this study was: THERE IS A STRONG CORRELATION BETWEEN MINE SIZE AND FATAL INJURIES. THE FATALITY RATE IN MINES WITH 50 OR FEWER EMPLOYEES IS NEARLY THREE TIMES THAT OF LARGE MINES (WITH OVER 250 EMPLOYEES), AND ABOUT TWICE THAT OF INTERMEDIATE-SIZED MINES (WITH 51-250 EMPLOYEES). Although the Committee explored possible reasons for the higher fatality rate in the smaller mines, it was not able to explain this phenomenon fully. Therefore the Bureau of Mines requested that the Committee undertake a supplementary study of fatalities in small underground coal mines. The Committee met in the fall of 1982, discussed the problem, developed an approach to it, approved a program of statistical analyses, and authorized a panel of four committee members to explore the problem in greater depth. The panel, in turn, reviewed the results of the statistical analyses and met with the president of the National Independent Coal Operators Association and with several owners of small underground coal mines for a detailed discussion of the unique problems of small mines. Panel members examined 66 individual fatality reports prepared by Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) inspectors who investigated fatal accidents that occurred in small underground coal mines in 1979 and 1980. This report is the result of those studies, analyses, and deliberations. The first draft was prepared by the panel, but the report has been reviewed and approved by the entire Committee. In addition to this introduction, the report consists of two parts. The first section, "Conclusions and Recommendations," presents the findings that resulted from the Committee's study and makes recommendations that represent the best judgment of committee members on what should be done to improve safety in small underground coal mines. The second part, "Statistical Analyses," gives the results of the specific statistical analyses undertaken to explore the unique safety problems of small underground coal mines.

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This supplementary study reinforces our previous conclusion that smaller underground coal mines have a significantly higher fatality rate than do the larger underground coal mines. We attribute this higher fatality rate to several factors, including the shorter and intermittent mode of operation of these smaller mines and, in the Committee's judgment, a lack of top-quality mining equipment, a lack of adequate financial resources, and inadequacies in the training of workers and managers in these mines. We conclude that operators of small mines need assistance with respect to safety in their mines and that this assistance should come primarily from the governments of the states in which they operate. Eighty-five percent of the small mines (those having fewer than 50 employees) are concentrated in the states of Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. We recommend that the governments of these states provide assistance, primarily in the form of advice, to the operators of small underground coal mines. The federal government can help by providing technical assistance and training aids, as well as financial assistance to states that undertake this important service.

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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS On the basis of our analyses, we find that: 1) The negative correlation of fatality rate with mine size persists when one breaks down the 1-50 employees Category into smaller segments. Mines with 1-20 workers have twice the fatality rate of mines with 21-50 workers. 2) The duration of active operation of a mine appears to be related to fatality rate. Smaller mines operate for shorter periods of time and more intermittently than do larger mines, which tend to operate more or less continuously. Among smaller mines, those that operate for shorter periods of time have higher fatality rates. We suspected that the fatality rate should tend to decrease with the time of operation of a mine—i.e., that a learning curve pertains. However, no such pattern clearly emerged from our data. 3) The problem of small mines in the United States is concentrated in three states: Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. Over 85 percent of underground coal mines employing fewer than 50 miners are in these three states.* 4) Factors that previously were believed to have some influence on the high fatality rate in small underground coal mines, but that in our analyses show only weak or no correlation with fatality rate, are (a) seam thickness and (b) mining method (i.e., conventional or continuous). 5) The age distribution of workers in small underground coal mines is similar to that of workers in larger mines. Our previous finding that age is strongly correlated with injury rate (i.e., that younger miners have a higher injury rate) applies equally to smaller mines, but, as we found previously, age does not correlate strongly with fatality rate. 6) Underreporting of employee-hours may be a factor that increases the fatality rate for the very smallest mines—i.e., those with 1-10 *The mountainous terrains of West Virginia, western Virginia, and eastern Kentucky produce outcrops of coal at the surface, which are more readily available to small operators with limited resources who could not afford to sink shafts.

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employees—but this phenomenon does not account for the significantly higher fatality rate of small mines in general. On the basis of our examination of fatality reports, discussions with operators of small underground coal mines, and the experience of the Committee's three mining engineers and geologist with small mine operations, we believe the following factors exacerbate the safety problem in small mines: 1) The mining equipment in small mines is of lower quality, sometimes secondhand, and less well maintained. 2) The physical condition of employees in small mines is less favorable to safety—small operators sometimes employ workers that large companies will not accept.* 3) The financial resources available to operators of small mines are limited. Hence many of these operators are not able to support the more extensive safety programs employed by some major coal companies (using safety engineers and technicians). In view of the findings listed above, it is our considered judgment that the maintenance of safety in smaller underground coal mines is more difficult, and has aspects that are different, than the safety problem in larger mines. We believe that the operator of a small mine needs help in maintaining safe working conditions within his mine.** Moreover, we believe that such help, at the present time, should come primarily from the governments of the states that have a large population of small mines. These states are Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. The responsible agencies of these states are: The Department of Mines and Minerals Commonwealth of Kentucky Lexington, Kentucky The Division of Mines Department of Labor and Industry Commonwealth of Virginia Big Stone Gap, Virginia Department of Mines State of West Virginia Charleston, West Virginia *Labor turnover rates might be an additional factor leading to more accidents and more fatalities, but we have no data setting forth comparative labor turnover rates between large and small mines. **All of our data come from mines that report to MSHA, have been certified for operation by MSHA, and hence are presumed to meet MSHA's minimum requirements for safety. They nevertheless need help in maintaining safe operating conditions.