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Mining accidents killed 18 workers in first half of 2015

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Eighteen workers died in mining industry accidents during the first half of 2015, according to a new report by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.

From Jan. 1 to June 30, 10 miners were killed in the metal and nonmetal mining industry and eight miners were killed in the coal mining industry, the administration said in its mid-year report, released Wednesday.

Two of the 10 metal and nonmetal mining industry deaths recorded occurred at underground mines, while the remaining eight deaths occurred at surface mines, the report states.

The eight recorded coal mining industry deaths resulted from falls and accidents with machinery, transport of materials, and falling material, among other things, according to the report.

Machinery and powered haulage accidents were the most common cause of mining deaths across the board, accounting for four fatalities in each category, the report states.

Of all the miners who were killed, six were contractors, according to the report.

Four fewer miners died in the first half of 2015 than during the same time period last year. In first half of 2014, 14 miners were killed in the metal and nonmetal mining industry and eight miners were killed in the coal mining industry.

“Mining fatalities are preventable, and each of these deaths reminds us that much more needs to be done to protect the nation's miners,” Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, said in a statement. “Safe mine operation must be at the forefront at all times to avoid the pain and suffering the families of these miners now have to endure.”