Coal Mining

Coal miners faced the worst hardships and conditions ever.

Safety Hazards of the Coal Mine

Exhausted workers suffered accidents from machines that had no safety devices. They often lost limbs and fingers. Miners also did not wear much clothes because it became very hot while working. Some even went completely nude. Family members would constantly worry about the safety of their wife, son, daughter, mom, husband, or daughter. All of the miners worked in dark mines and the coal dust destroyed their lungs. They were also always in danger of flooding, explosions, being buried alive, suffocation from poisonous gases, and collapsing tunnels.

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Working Hours for All

Working hours were long, with shifts lasting for 12-16 hours, six to seven days a week depending on if you were a child, woman, or man.

Women, Children, and Family Workers

Children specialized in climbing into mining shafts that were considered to narrow for adults. Both women and children could crawl through narrow underground passages, some as low as 16 to 18 inches in height. They also pulled carts for 10 to 20 miles a day.

Families would also work together at long hours at a time.

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Ages of Children Workers

Children started working at age 7 or eight and a few worked as young as 5. Because children had helped with work on the farm, parents accepted the idea of child labor.

The Positive Aspects of Coal Mining

Coal reserves are a source of fossil fuel that is generally safe from international embargoes. It also uses production, transportation, and combustion technology that is easily understood. Extended coal use technology can provide a wide range of other hydrocarbon products generally obtained from oil. The job also paid more than any other job at the time.