As mines close, coal deaths nearing all-time low in 2015

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Amid layoffs and idled operations, the U.S. coal industry is close to setting a record low for on-the-job deaths in coal mines.

See Full Article

In late December, there were 11 deaths in coal mines nationwide for the year, putting the industry on track to best the record low of 16 set in 2014.

Pennsylvania is leading the nation with three deaths, the most in that state since 2008. If the numbers hold it would be the first time since 2009 that West Virginia did not record the nation's most coal mine fatalities. So far, West Virginia has had just two mining deaths, tied with Kentucky and Illinois, which had the most recent on Dec. 8. An equipment crash underground at the MC .1 mine in southern Illinois killed 20-year-old Tyler Rath, who had been mining for two years.

Alabama and Virginia have each had one mining death with just a few days left in 2015.

Seven deaths have occurred in underground mines, and four of those were attributed to roof or wall failures.

Employment in U.S. coal mines has been on the decline in recent years, especially in Appalachia, as operators cut ties with costly underground operations to better compete with cheaper western coal and a plentiful supply of natural gas.

Coal employment nationwide was down in November from 72,700 to 64,700, an 11 per cent drop, compared to last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Kentucky, mines have lost about 4,000 jobs between 2012 and 2014.

Bruce Watzman, a spokesman for the National Mining Association, said the industry has had a heightened focus on safety with a goal of zero fatalities. He said the reduction in mine employment in recent years may also be a factor in the record low deaths.

"We've long said that a safe mine is a productive mine, and in the competitive marketplace that exists today it's important that mines operate at optimum performance and that means safely," Watzman said.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration is withholding comment on the fatal numbers until the year is over, according to a spokeswoman.

But after last year's record low, federal mine safety officials credited the changes they made after the Upper Big Branch disaster in West Virginia in 2010 that killed 29 men, which included more aggressive inspections at mines with poor safety records, many of them in Appalachia.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Economists meet with Alberta officials, say worst appears to be over

    Economic CTV News
    EDMONTON - Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci met with key economists to look ahead to 2017, with the consensus being the worst is over for the provincial economy. But Avery Shenfeld, chief economist of CIBC, says how much things will improve is still up in the air and tied to the price of oil. Source
  • Dow Jones, S&P 500 rallies to record highs; TSX racks up 100 points

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Major North American stock markets pushed higher, with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 hitting record levels, as anticipation builds over the corporate policies of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average surged 297.84 points at 19,549.62, while the S&P 500 added 29.12 points at 2,241.35. Source
  • Bovine TB: More cattle quarantined, but officials 'optimistic' worst is over

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA - The quarantine of cattle in a western Canada bovine tuberculosis outbreak continues to grow, even as no new confirmed cases of the disease have been found. Officials say, however, they are cautiously optimistic that the number of animals quarantined may have peaked. Source
  • Commercial real estate sales hit quarterly record as investors hunt yields

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY - Real estate firm CBRE says Canada hit a record level for commercial real estate sales in the third quarter and is on track to beat an annual record set during the 2007 boom. Source
  • Moose Knuckles reaches deal with Competition Bureau over 'Made in Canada' claims

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Winter jacket maker Moose Knuckles has reached a deal with the Competition Bureau regarding concerns over its advertising and labelling of certain parkas that are promoted as made-in-Canada. Under the agreement, reached through mediation, the company has agreed to donate $750,000 over five years to charities in Canada, such as those that provide winter coats to children in need. Source
  • Starbucks to boost number of shops, add more food to menu

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Starbucks, looking to the future as its longtime CEO moves to other projects, plans to open 12,000 new locations within five years to boost its number of coffee shops worldwide by almost 50 per cent. Source
  • TransCanada to proceed with $655-million northern Alberta natural gas pipeline

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- TransCanada Corp. says it's moving ahead with a $655-million expansion of its Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. system in northwestern Alberta. The company (TSX:TRP) says the Saddle West Expansion Project will add 29 kilometres of pipeline capacity to existing routes, as well as five compressor units, that together will increase the capacity of the system by about 355 million cubic feet per day. Source
  • N.B. to phase out coal, put price on carbon in new climate plan

    Economic CTV News
    FREDERICTON -- The New Brunswick government will phase out coal as an electricity source under a new climate change plan that also puts a price on carbon. Premier Brian Gallant said Wednesday that climate change is the most important issue to face humankind in modern times and New Brunswick must do its part to combat it. Source
  • Starbucks planning to add 12,000 new outlets around the world

    Economic CBC News
    Starbucks plans to add 12,000 new locations over the next five years. (David Horemans/CBC News) Starbucks plans to open 12,000 new locations within five years, boosting the total number of its coffee shops worldwide by almost 50 per cent. Source
  • WestJet pilots union drive takes flight again

    Economic CBC News
    The Air Line Pilots Association has formalized its drive to unionize pilots at WestJet. After months of laying the groundwork, the U.S.-based international union said in a letter to pilots that it is collecting membership cards, and warns about a pushback from the Calgary-based airline. Source