In addition to the 29 miners who died in West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in April, another 28 miners were killed in the U.S. during the first eight months of the year in less publicized accidents, according to a safety alert from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. The list:

  • Eight miners struck by moving or falling objects.
  • Seven miners crushed by roof falls and “rib rolls,” in which the side walls of mines collapse.
  • Six killed while working in close to mining or hauling equipment.
  • Three killed by explosions and fires.
  • Four killed in other mine-related accidents.

Eight of the miners killed during the first eight months of 2010 were contractors, according to the safety alert. In addition, the alert said that more than half of this year’s fatalities appear to involve violations of the MSHA’s “Rules to Live By,” a list of key mining safety standards.

Until this year, mining deaths had been declining. In 2009, the U.S. mining industry set a record low for fatalities, 34. The agency said, however, that “too many miners still lose their lives in preventable accidents.”

Earlier this week, the MSHA adopted an emergency temporary standard requiring coal mine operators to take steps to prevent underground coal dust explosions.