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What causes coal mining accidents?

If you or someone in your family works at a coal mine, you will be well aware of how dangerous a job it can be. Despite vast improvements in safety culture over the years, too many people still lose their lives or suffer severe injuries while working to extract coal.

A look at the history of coal mining accidents

By taking a look at some of the biggest coal mining disasters in history, we can understand a little more about the dangers that you face when working in a coal mine:

  • Gas and coal dust explosions: This caused the 1942 Benxihu disaster, which killed more than 1,500 miners. Explosions can bury you alive or disrupt vital ventilation sources. In this case, carbon monoxide overwhelmed those trapped below.
  • Methane explosions: Over 1,000 died in Courrieres, France, in 1906 due to this. The initial spark probably came from a safety lamp. Even today, lamps and electrical equipment used could ignite the naturally occurring gas.
  • Roof collapse: 458 mineworkers died in Mitsui Miike in Japan in 1963. Most succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning after a roof collapse. When a roof caves in, it can block off tunnels and deprive you of oxygen, or kill you outright if debris crushes or buries you.
  • Flooding: In 1975, 372 Indian miners died in Dhanbad after a blast caused water to flood from a water tank into the mine, drowning the people inside.


Mining companies need to ensure sufficient safety procedures are in place to protect their employees. Digging for coal for a living should never require that someone has to dig you out.

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