Throughout history mining has been considered one of the most dangerous professions as a result of hazardous gasses, mine collapses, and the use of heavy machinery. With the introduction of Occupational Health and Safety laws mines and the better development of knowledge in the area of mining geology and mining equipment, the accident rates have decreased. However, it should be noted that mining is still considered one of the most dangerous occupations in society today.
I used to work as a paramedic in the Ulan region of NSW and was always fascinated by the way that the mines, to this day, would keep a score board of how many days it had been since the last work related accident. In four years working within the area, I doubt I ever saw the score board up above 15 days. Admittedly, many of these were minor injuries and accidents and it is very unusual to find a mine collapse or a major incident in an Australian mine. But it does still happen and lets face it, how many other occupations keep a score board for the amount of days since the last injury at work?
Worst Mine Accidents Throughout History
These are some of the worst mine accidents throughout history.
In Australia, the worst mine accident in history was in the Mount Kembla Mine Disaster in 1902 where 96 men and boys were killed when a gas/coal dust caused a major explosion.
In Canada, the worst mine disaster was when a set of mine disasters collectively called the Springhil Mining Disasters. One involving a gass fire, another a runaway rail cart which caused an explosion, and the last an undergound earthquake.
In Chile, it is argued to be the El Teniente, in which almost 400 people died from smoke inhalation.
In China, in 1942 Benxihue Colliery has a coal dust explosion, which killed more than 1500 people who were working there that day.
In the UK, the South Wales Coalfield had many mine accidents during 1850-1930, which accumulated more than 3000 deaths over the years
In the USA, Monongah Mining Disaster, in 1907, a coal mine had a coal dust explosion,which resulted in more than 300 persons death.