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In Case Your Day Has Gone Too Well


Thought it was worth darkening your day by pointing you to this handy online calendar of mine disasters in American history. See how many miners were killed on the birthdays of you and your loved ones!

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  • firefall

    You say that like it’s a bad thing

  • Bitter Scribe

    I’m surprised the coal industry hasn’t tried to sell strip-mining as a way to make things safer for miners. (Unless they have and I missed it.)

    • I am pretty sure this argument did come up at one time. I am hazy on the details. But, I remember something about it in the 1980s.

    • Oh it most definitely has. And it’s not strictly untrue. Of course, most of the safety improvements come from just not employing miners anymore.

  • MikeJake

    On the bright side, Santa Claus hasn’t been killed in a mining accident.

    Because he doesn’t exist.

  • 69 on my birthday (hey now) and it barely makes the top 5 for the month.

    • Icarus Wright

      Zero here. Can’t get no love.

      • DrDick

        I am somewhere in the middle. Maybe since that is Ground Hog Day, the gods of the underworld are more merciful.

        • Alan Tomlinson

          Oh joy, I’ve got a mining accident on my birthday! Will this help me pick up girls? I thought not.


          Alan Tomlinson

      • Bill Murray

        you may have 99 problems, but mine accidents ain’t one

  • RedSquareBear

    Well, no mine disasters on 12/12, so clearly it’s time to defund those damned regulators, killing jobs.

    (Rather than killing workers, which is my job!)

  • Anon21

    Zero on my birthday! But the three-day average is 75, so… kind of a deadly time of year, I guess.

  • peorgietirebiter

    This bit from a 1908 federal inspector’s report caught my eye-

    “We realize that to follow out on these lines of our recommendations may mean increased costs of operating expenses, and hardships might result between competitive fields unless similar laws are enforced in all such fields.”

    So in 1908 they understood that if all of Papa John’s competition are reuired to follow the same life saving rules, his life really doesn’t change much. And the lives of his non dead employees will be greatly enhanced. Although it might put a few job killers on the street.

  • Bill Murray

    84 and the accident has my last name. I am doubly blessed

    • Ken

      I’m assuming you werent involved, Bill.

      Only 10 on my birthday, I feel like a piker.

      • Bill Murray

        No, it was 50 years before I was born and the mountain on which the accident occurred is what has the same name as me

        • Bill Murray

          Also, there actually were 188 deaths total in 5 separate accidents on my birthday. Yeah me.

  • Tnap01

    184 on my B-day, including the worst mining accident in Wyoming history!

  • Helmut Monotreme

    3 separate accidents for a total of 277 fatalities on my birthday. I hereby declare December 19th to be ‘Kick a coal baron in the teeth’ day.

    • I approve of your new your holiday.

    • Bill Murray

      That should be everyday

  • J R in WV

    My Grandma lived in “Purity Hill” which was the company town above Eccles Number 5 mine. The explosion in 1914 sent clouds of black smoke shooting up from the shaft, and the mine whistle was tied down to scream a continuous shrill call that a disaster had happened.

    Grandma saw the smoke shooting up from her kitchen window. Her husband, my Grandad (who died in 1951 after I was born in Dec. 1950) was working in the tipple as a hoist engineer. He never did like going down into the mine, and as a hoist engineer only did so to help get a machine into the hoist cab to bring it up for repair.

    My brother worked in that coal mine in the 1970s while living with Grandma in the home they built in Harper in 1932, when they moved out of the company town. He was not seriously injured while working underground, and used the money he earned to finish his degree at WVU.

    So I feel like I have every right to blame companies for their willingness to treat miners as disposable items while evading safety requirements to make an extra dollar on a ton of mined coal. We’re hoping that Don Blankenship will be jailed for the killing of miners in the Upper Big Branch mine explosion last year.

    We have known what causes coal mine explosions for decades, and they still happen all over the world. Poor ventilation can lead to methane build up. Methane is explosive in proportions between 5-15%… lower than 5% isn’t enough to “burn” and more than 15% is too much, it doesn’t have enough oxygen to explode at higher levels.

    Coal dust can’t explode if it is diluted with non-flamable rock dust – powdered linestone –

    Machines operating in coal mines have cut-off devices that shut them down if the methane percentage is above 1 or 2% – far below an explosive ratio.

    The most dangerous explosions are when a minor methane “bump” stirs up the coal dust, which then explodes violently. Dust is a well know explosive – grain elevators, strong concrete towers, are prone to explode when grain dust accumulates and is ignited by an electrical spark. Electric devices in mines are built to maintain a barrier between switches and the external atmosphere – so that even if it is explosive it shouldn’t explode.

    But the mining tools, carbide bits on spinning miner heads, strike hard rock and cause sparks all the time, which is why cutting heads are supposed to have water sprays to subdue ignitions. But that costs money and hours of labor which cuts profits a little.

    So Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Coal, wrote memos
    telling everyone that moving coal wa job one, and anyone spending company time on spreading rock dust (powdered limestone) or working on water spray equipment would be fired for neglecting the primary puspose of the company – moving coal and killing people in the process.

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