Coal is the most widely used energy source in Turkey. Although safer modern underground mining methods have been introduced, mine accidents in Turkey still cause loss of lives and money in certain mines. In this study, historical accident records of two underground coal mines of two different panels (conventional and mechanized) are collected and statistically analyzed to determine the effect of mining methods on productivity and safety. The results indicated that the safety and productivity are improved when the panels are mechanized. However, it was found that the improvement in the productivity for mechanized panels is more pronounced than the improvement in the safety. The comparison of the injury profiles of the system revealed that the most risky place shifted from the face areas in the conventional panels to the development areas in the mechanized panels. Hence, the production workers were less injured in the mechanized system than the conventional system. The workers in the middle age group had a higher accident rate in both systems. The results of the present study have been compared with the previous studies. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.