Horizontal shear deformations have not been commonly considered in subsidence engineering and risk management practices. This situation is quite different from many other engineering disciplines. This article presents the authors’ initial findings of case studies from a number of collieries across all NSW Coalfields. The objective of this article is to highlight the significance of a ground deformation mode, that is, horizontal shear, and its implications to subsidence engineering and risk management. A Shear Index is suggested to facilitate studies of mining-induced shear deformations of the ground surface.