So, You Want to Work in Mining? An In-Depth Look at the Risks of the Trade

Working in the mining industry is still a dangerous job that offers some attractive benefits to workers. For many, working at a coal mine may represent the best source of income, the job closest to home, or an opportunity to continue a family tradition of work. Still, considering the job isn’t without dangers, you should know what you’re getting into. Here are five dangers to watch out for in the mining industry.

Be prepared for dust, coal, and chemical emissions exposure

Inhaling and exhaling are something most people think of doing automatically. But after years of inhaling dust, small particles, and fumes, your lungs take a toll. So, even without falling prey to the notorious coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (black lung), you develop risks for lung conditions ranging from asthma, bronchitis, lung cancer, and more. While many coal workers have found compensation and support from other organizations, the risk means you’d better take your first few weeks and months seriously.

Fortunately, your supervisors will be strict about personal protective equipment, as the equipment is designed to protect you from chemical emissions, dust, the coal itself, and any other kinds of harmful contaminants that come into contact with your skin. Be wary of getting into coal work if you feel you’re overly sensitive to the air around you.

Protecting yourself from excessive noise pollution

As a coal miner, the types of noises you hear will range from moderate in sound to potentially dangerous. Ear protection is a must, as sounds of greater than 85 decibels will generally have a profound impact on hearing. Common sounds you’ll hear include drilling, cracking, pounding, popping, and other loud sounds related to the crushing of debris and heavy machinery being in use. Even with hearing protection, you’ll benefit from developing a mental health strategy for coping with noise pollution. Walking away won’t realistically work, as the job requires mental toughness that’s needed to sustain an hour-long shift.

Explosions, cave-ins, and falling objects

Much of the risk surrounding coal mines is the potential for methane gas to build up and come into contact with a heat source. The danger is increased given the fact that so many miners work in close proximity, under potentially dangerous rock formations, for prolonged periods. From falling objects to the total collapse of a mine, the risks are uncertain and require a brave and focused mind, and even more importantly, a great deal of courage considering the stakes. If you think about the extensive risks surrounding mining, one truth is clear: companies providing exploration services and innovative solutions for mining safety will have insight into the dangers of mining. With the right people on your team, you can take a job in mining and geological engineering that can earn you $93,800 a year.

Working underground in coal mining can produce an exciting and rewarding career. A career that’s full of risks and perils, but ultimately, presents worthy benefits. Take into consideration how you’ll survive as a miner. As long as you know what you’re getting into, the risks are worth the reward.

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