Monday, August 13, 2007

Mining: Still the Most Dangerous Job in the United States

Pickaxe The number of miner deaths this past couple of weeks (including the likely deaths of the Utah miners) brings to light yet again that mining is still an occupation with severe hazards. Even our advance technology cannot save miners when 1500 feet of solid rock caves in on top of them.

And according to this report in Fox News, mining accidents are made even more dangerous because workers do not always know when they are happening:

Tim Curtis was near the mine's entrance on Aug. 6 when he got a text message telling him of the collapse on his PED, or personal emergency device. The trapped men are believed to be about 3.4 miles from the mine's entrance.

"Where I was at, I felt nothing," Curtis said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It's just like you are here and three miles away are you going to hear a balloon pop?"

The three other men who escaped the mine unharmed were also believed to be relatively close to the entrance.

Of course, it would also be helpful if mine owners and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) would do more to prevent these tragedies and stop blaming them on "Acts of God":

The cause of the collapse has not been officially established. Bob Murray, head of Murray Energy Corp. and co-owner of the mine, has insisted it was caused by an earthquake, but seismologists say there was no earthquake and that readings on seismometers actually came from the collapse.


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The title of Paul's post reminds me of one of my favorite labor songs, "Come All You Coal Miners":

Coal mining is the most dangerous work in our land today
With plenty of dirty. slaving work, and very little pay.
Coal miners, won't you wake up, and open your eyes and see
What the dirty capitalist system is doing to you and me.

The song was written by Kentucky native Sarah Ogan Gunning (who also wrote "I Hate The Capitalist System" -- detect a trend?), and was later recorded by alt-country pioneers Uncle Tupelo.

Posted by: eric | Aug 13, 2007 8:27:29 AM

Mining is definetely an unsafe job, it was 50 years ago and it still is today.

Posted by: Cae Besaw | Sep 12, 2007 10:28:01 AM

Guess what? It's more dangerous to be a taxi driver in the US than a coal miner. Don't believe me? Check the bureau of labor's fatalities statistics. Coal mining didn't even make the top ten list. Coal mining is rarely dangerous anymore, especially in comparison to other jobs that can not take advantage of modern technology consistently such as fishing and flying. Coal mining can constantly use technology to replace men, but it is still too expensive to do this with the piloting of an airplane or fishing.

Posted by: Michael K | Oct 7, 2007 6:32:09 PM

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