Between 1830 and 2000 more than 15,000 people were killed in USA mines. I assume similar historic figures could be found for any coal mining country. For example, in Britain over 90,000 men, women and children lost their lives or were injured in mines between 1850 and 1914 (for a comprehensive resource of UK mining information see DiggingUpThePast.org.uk). Today, in industrialized countries, coal mining deaths and accidents have been much reduced because machines have taken over from the men and boys who used to work the coal face; deaths do still occur; for example the 2001 explosion in Brookwood, Alabama that killed 13; and there are health issues related to mining coal. However, this all pales in comparison to the state of coal mining in China (which accounts for about 80% of present day mining deaths worldwide), where the official tally of coal mining deaths was 4,153 in the first 9 months of 2004 alone. See also Coal: A Human History by Barbara Freese (non-fiction).
This article is from the October 19, 2005 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.
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