FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The number of miners killed on the job in the United States fell in 2008 to the lowest level on record: 51.
The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration reported that 29 of the deaths happened in coal mines, down from 34 in 2007, while 22 were in copper, gold, stone and other types of mines, down from 33 in 2007.
The 51 deaths are the lowest number since the federal government
began keeping records in 1910. The previous low was 55 in 2004.
Federal mine safety chief Richard Stickler told The Associated Press on Thursday that revamped safety laws and beefed up enforcement were among factors that led to the overall decline in mining deaths.
But Stickler said he is by no means pleased. He said 51 fatalities are 51 tragedies that are unacceptable and disheartening.
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