united states mine rescue association Mine Disasters in the United States
Historical Data on Mine Disasters in the United States
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The term "mine disaster" historically has been applied to mine
accidents claiming five or more lives. Mine disasters, in this sense, once were
appallingly common. For instance, the single year of 1907 saw 18 coal mine
disasters, plus two more disasters in the metal and nonmetal mining industry. Among the disasters in 1907 was history's worst - the Monongah coal mine
explosion, which claimed 362 lives and impelled Congress to create the Bureau
Mine accidents have declined dramatically in number and severity through
decades of research, technology, and preventive programs. Today, mine accidents
resulting in five or more deaths are no longer common. However, preventing
recurrence of disasters like those of the past remains a top priority requiring
constant vigilance by management, labor, and government.
Number of Documented Mine Disasters (where 5 or more deaths occurred):
Coal Mine Disasters
Metal and Nonmetal Mine Disasters
Year with largest number of coal mine fatalities: 1907 (3,242)
Year with largest number of Metal/Nonmetal mine fatalities: 1917 (983)
Year with largest number of Coal mine disasters: 1909 (20 disasters)
Year with largest number of Metal/Nonmetal mine disasters: 1911 (8 disasters)
Year with largest number of mine disasters overall: 1910 (25 disasters: 19 Coal, 6 Metal/Nonmetal)
The U. S. Bureau of Mines was established on May 16, 1910. During the three years leading up to its start (1907 to 1909), there were 50 coal mine
disasters in which 5 or more miners were killed. Total killed - 1,779
List of accidents at metal and nonmetal mines and quarries (except coal mines) in the United States in which five or more lives were lost, update of Table 1 from the preceding publication, informally maintained by staff, Office of Information and Public Affairs.