Mining Feature: Appreciate Miners on Miners Day, December 6, 2022
Friday, December 2, 2022
December 6 is National Miners Day, and it is a fitting time to reflect on how much miners provide to allow for our modern way of life. It is also an ideal time to think of the men and women who work in this challenging industry and to consider the hazards they face in order to make our modern lives possible.
You might not recognize how mining plays a role in your daily life. Most people do not see the raw materials produced by mining, from metals and minerals to coal and stone, sand, and gravel. Instead, we use items every day that come from mined raw materials, never knowing that mining played an integral part in the development of the mobile devices we use, the roads we travel on, the cookware we use to make our meals, and the mined fertilizers that helped grow our food. These products, in addition to countless other necessities and conveniences, start with mining.
Miners Day was established in 2009 to honor miners. The date was chosen to acknowledge the Monongah mining disaster, the worst single loss-of-life event due to mining in American history. On December 6, 1907, at least 362 West Virginia coal miners were killed in a catastrophic explosion.
Mining has certainly become safer than it was in its earlier days, but modern mine workers still face many challenges and threats to their safety and health. And while these risks have diminished with improved mitigations, advances in technology, and careful planning, more work is needed to stay ahead of remaining hazards. NIOSH Mining Program researchers are inspired by Miners Day to continue developing research-based practical solutions to these hazards.