What comes to mind when you think of coal mining? If you're like me, coal mining means living in darkness and a cold hearted industry. Other words that come to mind are poverty and oppression. Coal mining is not a job that you dream about or get a degree for. People who are coal miners do not chose a life full of danger and repression, they get stuck with it. There are many dangers that come along with coal mining, not only for the workers, but for the environment. Coal mining and the coal industry have caused irreversible damage to our environment and has killed innocent miners.
In her book Coal A Human History, Barbara Freese states "The mundane mineral that built our global economyand even today powers our electrical plantshas also caused death, disease, and environmental destruction" (front flap) Today, coal provides for more than 55% of the electricity generated in the U.S. (Cullen, Robert Vol.272) Coal miners have had one of the most dangerous jobs in history before government regulation. Many miners had to work underground for 10 + hours a day and 6 days a week(Cobb, James "Coal") The number of deaths per year is the equivalent of a Titanic going down in the nation's coal fields each year (Turkington, Carol) According to James Cobb from the World Book Online Reference Center mine safety involves four main types of problems including accidents involving machinery, roof and rib failures, accumulations of gases and concentrations of coal dust. The accidents involving machinery kill and/or hurt more coal miners in a year than any other mining accident. The machinery in mines are located in cramped spaces with little light, causing miners to have two times the chance of accidents. The accidents involving roof and rib failures can usually be averted if a mining company has a roof support plan. For a roof support plan to be made, information like entry widths, mine geometry, the number of pillars that must be left up right, and the number of bolts...
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