The relationship between a large number of mine and mine worker characteristics and injury severity was examined using multiple regression techniques. The study was based on data extracted from the New South Wales (N.S.W.) Joint Coal Board's computer based accident/incident reporting system describing 21,372 non-fatal, lost-time injurious incidents that occurred in the N.S.W. underground coal mining industry during the 4 year period from 1 July 1986 to 30 June 1990. The number of days lost as a result of an injurious incident was the best available proxy measure of injury severity. Over the study period, the number of days lost per 100,000 tonnes of raw coal production declined by 73%. Over the same period, injurious incidents involving more than 20 days off work, which constituted only 16% of all injurious incidents in underground mines, resulted in 75% of the total days lost for the whole N.S.W. underground coal mining industry. Factors that had practical importance and that were significantly associated with injury severity included mine worker's age, part of the body injured, type of accident, agency of accident, and mine worker activity. Factors not important or not significant in their relationship with injury severity were: time into shift, previous hours worked, mine location of incident, occupation, work experience, frequency of task, shift, and mining region. This study suggests that factors related to the susceptibility of a mine worker's body tissue to damage or repair, and factors related to the concentration of energy on the mine worker by vehicle and environmental characteristics are important determinants of injury severity.
Injury severity; Coal mining; Working days lost