The rate of fatal accidents in the coal mining industry is almost six times higher than private industry, and this had led the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to develop a new tool to combat that number.

"Safety Pays in Mining" is a web application that shows companies in the industry the cost of worker injuries. The tool offers information not only on the cost of injury claims, but a few suggestions on how that same money might be spent in other ways, according to the agency.

“Injuries on the job can be devastating to a mine worker, but they also affect the workplaces where injuries occur,” said Dr. Jessica Kogel, associate director for mining at NIOSH in a statement. “This program is instructional for mining operations, and the message of the web tool is clear: In mining, it pays to invest in injury prevention.”

With "Safety Pays in Mining," companies visually can see how dollar amounts affect their bottom line based on specific injuries such as burns, fractures, dislocations and sprains. For instance, while a knee sprain may cost an employer $1,100, a more serious injury such as a broken ankle could add up to $15,000, according to NIOSH.

To use the tool, companies can enter their own figures or use the default values based on past workers’ comp claims, to show impact to profit margins and annual sales.

More information about "Safety Pays in Mining" is available on the Centers for Disease Control/NIOSH website.