Coal mining is a dirty business. It’s been around since the 1800s, and it has its share of secrets that have only recently come to light thanks to coal miners who are now speaking out about their experiences in the dark world of underground mining.
You may not have been a coal miner, but you’ve probably seen Coal Miners in the movies. John Wayne even played one! But did you know that there are over 70,000 people employed by coal mines in the US alone? The most popular form of mining is underground mining, and it’s only found in certain parts of the world- namely China, India, and West Virginia.
Facts About Coal Mining
Underground miners work inside tunnels to extract coal from beneath the ground and they do so with heavy tools such as pickaxes or shovels. Today they have help from specialized machines. One of them is the Continuous Miner. “How a Continuous Miner Works“, is one of the important things mining teams need to know. Not surprisingly, these hardworking folks have some interesting facts about their jobs.
The mines are dark, dirty, and dangerous. They can also be cramped with narrow passages that make it difficult to move through without coming in contact with coal or other substances found deep underground such as methane gas.
Fact 1. Working In Coal Mines Can Make You Ill
Coal miners are at risk for a number of serious health issues such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, black lung, and toxic exposure to substances like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from the mining process.
Fact 2. Miners Can Get Caught In Blasts
While coal mining is safer today than it has been in the past, there are still accidents that can happen to miners. One of the most dangerous situations a miner might find themselves in is being caught up in an explosion due to improperly sealed tunnels or explosives they’ve brought into their mine shafts. These blasts have led to several injuries and fatalities over the years.
Fact 3. Coal Mining Is A Dirty Job
Coal mining is a dirty job. This isn’t your regular type of dirty though. If you’re not careful with your work gloves when working around coal dust, you could end up with black lung disease (an illness caused by breathing excessive amounts of coal particles) which leads to progressively worsening shortness of breath as well as coughing spells and chest pain; it can even be fatal.
In addition to the health effects, coal mining is also an environmental hazard: it leads to the depletion of precious water sources and puts animals in danger
Fact 4. Coal Mining Has Been Around Since The 1800s!
And while we’re not sure what will happen with this industry as the world shifts towards renewable energy resources like wind and solar power, there’s a good chance that coal miners will still need employment for many years to come thanks to innovations like hydraulic fracturing (fracking) which extracts natural gas from deep below ground- often by using pockets of methane found inside seams of coal.
Additional Fact: Underground mining is a physical job- miners have to carry heavy equipment into the mine and they need to work for long periods of time doing physically demanding tasks like digging, carrying dirt and rocks up from below ground level, pushing their carts loaded down with coal out of the tunnels so they can dump them onto conveyors leading towards loading docks where trucks come by every day to take away all the mined coal.
How Do You Become A Coal Miner?
There are coal mining jobs waiting for you to apply. It’s a physical and dangerous job, but the work is steady and there are benefits like health insurance that come with it. What do you need in order to become an underground miner? You’ll first need some experience working in mines or as part of a team (perhaps on construction sites) before applying for this type of position; many other miners start out by learning how to operate machines that help extract coal from deep inside the mine shafts!
Is coal mining your dream job? If so, you’ll need to work at a mine for a while first and learn how the equipment works. Coal miners are responsible for dangerous tasks like digging in dark mines with narrow passages that can be cramped and difficult to navigate without coming into contact with substances found deep underground such as methane gas or coal dust. Underground mining is physical labor- it requires carrying heavy equipment into the mines and doing physically demanding tasks like pushing carts loaded down with coal out of tunnels where they’ve been mined before dumping them onto conveyors leading towards loading docks where trucks come by every day to take away all the mined product from these hard-working folks. It isn’t an easy job and the people that work it truly deserve to be well compensated.