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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.

Mining Injuries and Fatalities in the Berwind-White Coal Mining Company Mines
Statistics and information about mining injuries and deaths in the Berwind-White Coal Company mines from 1897-1962.
The Ernest Mine Disaster of 1916
An account of a mine explosion in Ernest, Pennsylvania that claimed 26 lives, and the investigation of the event.
Unveiling of marker recalls mine event that killed 44 at Clymer No. 1
In 1991, a marker was raised to commemorate a 1926 mine disaster in Clymer, Pennsylvania in which 44 miners died.
 
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