Eureka Alert

Illnesses and injuries associated with working in Illinois mines are substantially underreported to the federal agency tasked with tracking these events, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration requires reporting of injuries and illness sustained while working in mines in the U.S. But according to previous research, their reporting program, called the Part 50 program, did not effectively capture cases of injury in Kentucky, spurring concerns about underreporting in other states.coal miner

In 2015, Illinois ranked fourth among the 50 states in coal production, with 23 coal mines producing 56,101,000 short tons of coal (a short ton is 2,000 pounds). That year, there were 4,171 workers employed in the mining industry in Illinois, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Mining remains hazardous and is associated with an increased risk for injury, as well as several health conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema and black lung disease.

The Part 50 program provides the Mine Safety and Health Administration the authority to investigate accidents, injuries and illnesses occurring in U.S. mines. Operators of coal, metal and nonmetal mines are required to notify


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