Year of Publication



Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Wayne Sanderson, MS, CIH, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Steve Browning, Ph.D., MSPH

Committee Member

Terry L. Bunn, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Mannino, M.D.


Introduction: Coal miners in Kentucky have higher rates of injury morbidity and mortality than national rates. In order to understand better what is happening in this area, we not only analyzed the injuries and deaths, but also identified common characteristics between these nonfatal and fatal injuries. The objectives of this study were to 1) Identify injuries among coal miners in Kentucky; 2) Determine if there are any other risk factors for injuries other than working in a mine; and 3) Determine the different health effects on coal mine workers. Methods: Data from Kentucky Workers’ Compensation First Reports of Injuries and Workers’ Compensation Claims for the years 2010-2012 were analyzed using statistical and text narrative analysis techniques. Results: Between 2010 and 2012, there were 2,814 workers’ compensation claims of injuries from coal miners, including 19 deaths to coal mine workers. The study showed that as a state, Kentucky has more injuries than the national average. Also, this study showed that machinery, place, and equipment were the most common categories responsible for the events that caused the injury. Within these categories, scoop and bolter machines were responsible for the most injuries within their category (machinery) with an incidence rate of 4.87% and 4.01%, respectively. In Place, the element responsible for the majority of the injuries was rock, with an incidence of rate13.48%, followed by ground/ice/mud 3 (ground conditions) with an incidence of 3.09%. Cable (handling) was the most common element in the Equipment category followed by pinner with an incidence of 4.30% and 0.96%, respectively. Also, truck was the vehicle that was involved in the most injuries at 3.27%. Lifting--at1.95%--was the most common action involved in the injuries. Conclusion: Strain, contusion, and amputation were identified as the most common type of injury that coal miners had in Kentucky. The results of the analyses of the variable “accident description” showed that rock was the most common element involved in the injuries/accidents. The results of this research narrowed the scope of injuries and fatalities, identifying the need for additional research related to Place (or physical work environment), Equipment, and Machinery and their respective elements within each category. Also, a more precise narrative of the accident should be required in Workers’ Compensation claim reports.

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