Historically, October is the deadliest month of the year in the metal and nonmetal mining industry. Since 2000, 51 fatalities occurred during the month, many of which involved powered haulage and machinery accidents at a time when mines prepare for seasonal changes. In the fall of 2013, an uptick of metal and nonmetal mining deaths began after years of historic low levels of fatalities.
With the onset of cooler weather, many intermittent metal and nonmetal mining operations are preparing for winter by performing annual shutdown activities and disassembling portable plants. Full-time operations are relocating equipment into storage and conducting annual repairs. During seasonal transition, miners may engage in new or unfamiliar tasks, working with equipment they service only once a year, or assisting maintenance personnel on jobs they rarely perform.