"The reality is that safety is rapidly improving every year," he said.
But DeIuliis said incremental improvements aren't good enough.
"The only acceptable result for everyone in this room should be zero accidents across all of our operations," he said.
Operators are embracing new technology, new communications and employee awareness programs, he said. But the biggest challenge - the mindset of miners themselves - has no technological or engineering fix.
"Getting to zero accidents is 20 percent process safety and 80 percent decision-making and personal choice," he said, "and therein lies our greatest challenge.
Safety is not just the responsibility of the company or the employee, DeIuliis said.
"They are our collective responsibility - from the guy mining coal at the face to the accountant at headquarters to the senior management team," he said. "CONSOL Energy will lead. We will collaborate. We will listen. We will follow. We will do whatever it takes to get at the heart of this issue."
Tomblin, who ordered safety talks for more than 500 West Virginia coal operations after a string of deaths, said those talks are complete. Tomblin ordered the one-hour talks with employees last month after four mining deaths in a period of two weeks.
Tomblin didn't provide details Thursday and state mine safety director Eugene White was unavailable to answer questions. Office of Miners' Health Safety and Training spokeswoman Leslie Fitzwater said figures are still being compiled on the number of workers involved in the talks.