GILLETTE, Wyo., July 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Arch Coal, Inc. (NYSE:ACI) today announced that Thunder Basin Coal Company's Coal Creek mine has received the Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute's 2013 Safety Award for exceptional safety performance. This is the second consecutive year Coal Creek has earned this recognition. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120727/CG47668LOGO) "I want to commend the employees of Coal Creek for their unwavering focus on best-in-class safety," said Jim Opfer, Coal Creek's general manager. "Coal Creek is a great example of Arch's philosophy that safety and productivity go hand-in-hand." The award identifies Coal Creek as the safest small-operator surface mine among industry peers in the RMCMI's eight-state region. The award marks the second consecutive year in which Coal Creek has been recognized for its superb safety record. Its safety performance was measured based on strict standards from the Mine Safety and Health Administration. The U.S. national coal industry average is 2.35 lost-time incidents per 200,000 employee-hours. Coal Creek had zero lost-time incidents in 2012. In all, Coal Creek's 145 employees have surpassed 2.3 million employee-hours without a lost-time incident and have operated the mine for more than three years without a reportable safety incident. "Coal Creek's total zero incident rate puts you at the head of the pack that is increasingly getting better each year," said Judy Colgan, executive director of RMCMI. "Congratulations to all the employees at Coal Creek mine on winning the award, especially for being recognized two years in a row." Arch maintained its leading position in the U.S. coal industry for safety performance for the seventh consecutive year in 2012. Arch's 2012 lost-time safety rate was one-third the national coal industry average. In addition, Arch received a total of 17 national and state safety awards and honors in 2012.