2015 was the safest year in mining history, both in terms of number of deaths and fatal and injury rates.

MSHA maintains that these rates are calculated based on hours of miners’ exposure, a relative measure taking into account recent employment changes in the mining market. In other words, even though the mining industry has had an exceedingly difficult year keeping its businesses alive, mining operators nonetheless ensured the safest working conditions for American miners in recorded history.

While MSHA largely takes credit for the safety improvement in a quote from Assistant Secretary of Labor of Mine Safety and Health, Joseph A. Main, it also acknowledges that “even accounting for the decline in the number of mines, compliance improved, demonstrated by an 11 percent reduction in the number of citations and orders issued.” Accordingly, both coal and metal non-metal operators should be acknowledged for

“The progress we made in 2015 is good news for miners and the mining industry. It is the result of intensive efforts by MSHA and its stakeholders that have led to mine site compliance improvements, a reduction of chronic violators, historic low levels of respirable coal dust and silica, and a record low number of mining deaths.”

Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.