Last updated: August 01. 2013 2:24AM - 352 Views

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ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Eighteen U.S. miners have been killed on the job so far this year, down only slightly from this time last year.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration said Wednesday there were 19 at the halfway point of 2012.

This year’s fatalities include nine in coal mining and nine in metal and nonmetal mining accidents. One miner in each industry was a contractor.

The coal mine deaths involved machinery accidents, powered haulage accidents, roof falls and a hoisting accident. One miner was killed when he was struck by an object after a vessel under pressure exploded.

But MSHA director Joe Main said all the fatalities have one recurring element: They were preventable.

Earlier this month, MSHA announced U.S. mining operations had the lowest death and injury rates in their history last year with 36 on-the-job fatalities. The final figures also show the lowest rate of contractor deaths since the agency began tracking them in 1983.

“Many mines operate every shift of every day, year in and year out, without a fatality or a lost-time injury,” Main said. “Mining workplaces can and must be made safe for all miners.”

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