A Dangerous Life

  • The coal miner lived—and still lives—a difficult and dangerous life. The ever-present threat of cave-ins, explosions, mine fires, and toxic gases stands alongside the long-term effects of breathing coal dust and the constant risk of career-ending physical injury during routine coal mining work.

    Safety now is vastly improved over the early 20th century when, as Eileen Mountjoy says, "coal was king and the industry basically unregulated," but even with the benefits of technological advancement and better regulation, mining remains one of the world's most hazardous occupations.

    We've collected several historical resources on mining accidents and disasters in the local area to illustrate the risks, rigors, and tragedies that accompanied being a miner in the early years of the industry that would become the economic heart of the region.