Liddell, F. D. K. (1973).Brit. J. industr. Med.,30, 15-24. Mortality of British coal miners in 1961. In an earlier enquiry, a sizeable proportion of deaths officially ascribed to coalmining occupations was shown to have been in men who had worked in the industry but not in jobs specific to coalmining, or who had left the mines and taken up other employment. This led to overstatement of mortality among miners, and particularly among face workers.
A new coding of occupations was introduced in 1960, and the present investigation was concerned with all 5 362 men aged 20 to 64 who died in 1961 and were recorded as having last worked in a coalmining occupation or for the National Coal Board. The occupation at the time of last employment was determined from colliery records or after special enquiry by medical officers of health, and again was found to be at considerable variance with that on the death certificate. `Promotion' into coalmining occupations existed in all coalfields and depended on age at death and year of last appearance at work. `Promotion' to the face was particularly marked; however, more men had been working in the industry than were recorded as in specifically coalmining occupations. The effect of retirement from the coalface to other mining work was investigated.
In occupied miners underground, mortality was less than in all occupied and retired males, substantially so at the face. Miners generally had high rates of deaths from accidents and pneumoconiosis, and low rates for lung cancer. For most other causes, face workers had very low rates, while other underground workers and surface workers had rates below and above the national rates for occupied and retired males. Death rates were higher in Scotland than in the other British coalfields.
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