Improvements in mining methods (e.g. longwall mining), hazardous gas monitoring (such as safety-lamps or more modern electronic gas monitors), gas drainage, electrical equipment, and ventilation have reduced many of the risks of rock falls, explosions, and unhealthy air quality. Statistical analyses performed by the US Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) show that between 1990 and 2004, the industry cut the rate of injuries by more than half and fatalities by two-thirds. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mining remains the second most dangerous occupation in America.
New braces called Atlas Cribs contain a mix of hardwoods and a main lateral element that make these braces stronger than other braces used in the past. The new cribbing system takes up 41 percent less area than existing ones and may be up to 50 percent more efficient in terms of airflow.
The improved safety features in Australian mining has dramatically increased the forecasted improvement in the deficit to average life expectancy of the working male. It is envisioned that within 17 years, life expectancy of mine workers will be on par with the average male Australian.