Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lackawana Coal Mine Tour 2013

The Historical Perspectives Tour is off to a great start. We have 27 participants from the NY/NJ ERC and the Univ of Cincinnati ERC. 

Today we visited the Lackawana Coal Mine Tour in Scranton, PA. We descended into the mine, 300 feet below the surface.  We learned about room and pillar mining.  The guide also taught us about the different jobs that workers had, staring with 5 year old boys who worked above ground.  At 8 or 9 years old they moved to jobs in the mine, such as a Nipper (they operated the doors in the mine), Sprager (they were the braking system for the coal cars), and Mule boys (took care of the mules). 

Miners were paid between $1.15 and $1.25 per car load of coal (approximately 5 tons).  Although, at the end of the day, they really took home nothing, as they had to purchase their tools and supplies, pay other workers, and pay for other things with that money.

Hicahm Alnachawati, Moiz Khan, Kelechi Isiugo, Ifeanyi Nwaneshidu made a nice presention on coal mining to the group. Now we are off to Pittsburgh for our tour of Homestead Steel/Carrie Furnaces and the NIOSH Personal Protective Technologies Lab.


George said...

Lackawana coal tour always interesting. Seems like I always learn something new every time I got there. Amazing how the miners could work in such small areas. Can't imagine working with the lighting they had before the electric battery powered lights they have today.

Anonymous said...

It is no doubt a unique wonderful experience. Prior to my visit to Lackawanna coal mine visit, I could only picture the mining industry and its surrounding setting from movies I watched and books I read. However, now after this visit, I have lived, even for few hours, the actual coal mining industry life and history, I have learned how hard and harsh coal production used to be, how much misery and pain were experienced along the course of coal extraction and products creation. Many thanks to ERC for funding such significant and essential leering event.

Hicham Alnachawati, MD, MPH
Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Anonymous said...

Today's ERC Historical Perspectives Site Visit Course to the Lackawanna County Coal Mine was a good learning experience and a nice beginning for our trip.

The coal mine tour provided a well articulated overview of the slope mining approach and some of the dangers involved, including the problem of oxygen scavenging as well as the release of combustible gas (methane), which until relatively recently were gauged with the use of mine safety lamps. Also interesting were the points made about the other major risks associated with the trade, including that of mine roof failure ('roof squeezing') due to the presence of roof slip faults, and also that of pre-mature mine section collapse during 'retreat mining', when coal is being mined from rock chambers, which serve as the primary structural supports for mine roof stability.


Ifeanyi said...

THis was a great experience, we got to go into a coal mine (not currently active), saw great images on the history of the mine and the conditions the coal workers had to endure. Good way of understanding the need for hazard prevention and safety monitoring for workers involved in this industry.