Work-related traumatic mining fatalities in Australia were studied as part of a larger study of all work-related traumatic fatalities from 1982 to 1984. Information concerning 103 cases was obtained from inspection of coronial files. The fatality incidence per 100,000 person-years was high for miners (63.2) compared to the entire Australian workforce (8.1). Travelling for work purposes, obtaining minerals or coal and performing maintenance tasks were the most common activities being performed at the time of the fatal injury. Being hit by falling objects, often during a face or roof collapse in an underground mine, was the most common mechanism of fatal injury. Poor work practice, unstable terrain, equipment or machinery problems and a lack of safe operating procedures or inappropriate safe operating procedures were the most common contributing factors to the fatal incidents. It is recommended that there be emphasis on the development of and adherence to safe operating procedures, preventative maintenance of equipment, adequate training of workers, appropriate design of equipment and adequate communication facilities. The on-going national collection of data regarding both fatal and non-fatal injuries in the mining industry is advocated. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd.