Despite a decline in fatal accidents, federal statistics show 2007 was the second deadliest year since 2002 for U.S. coal miners.
According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, 32 miners died on the job last year, including eight in West Virginia.
The deadliest year was 2006 when 47 miners, including 24 in West Virginia, were killed on the job. That year the number of miners who died equaled the number who died in 1995.
By comparison, 29 miners died in job-related mishaps in 2003, 28 miners died in 2004 and 22 miners were killed in 2005. In 2002, 27 miners died.
Among the deadliest years since 1995: 2001 with 42; and 1996 and 2000, each with 38.
Most of the fatal accidents in 2007 involved one or two miners. However, six died after a cave-in at Utah’s Crandall Canyon mine. Three rescuers also were killed while trying to reach those men.
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