Coal: Those Behind the Industry

Coal mining is and was one of the biggest industries in the eastern Kentucky community.


When the industry packed up and moved out, the community was rocked and people had to learn and adjust to the new experiences they were about to face. This was a new experience for the miners families also. These experiences are the things that I myself had to learn to live with as a coal miner's daughter.


For as long as I can remember my father has worked in the mining industry. If you ask him he’s spent 30+ years in that industry working to provide for his family and his parents.


When he left the industry it was not fully by choice, it was during the time when companies where closing down and deciding who to let go and who to keep. After my father left the industry he made the decision to file for his black lung. This is a battle many miners now are fighting for no matter the length they have been in the mines all because of the damage it has caused to their lungs.


My father spent times on the surface and on the interior of a mine both and others may say it makes a difference in the miners health and effects of black lung, but really it does not because if they are exposed to coal dust then they are all at risk for black lung developing. If a individual is indeed diagnosed with black lung their battle has just began and that is the life of many miners who dedicated their life to this industry.


The battle is the right for benefits paid by the mining industry because of the development of health issues caused by the exposure of chemical, coal dust and other elements that are present in the mines. Black lung benefits is the most common form of benefits that these individuals are fighting for. Most mining industries will fight tooth and nail to deny individuals from the right causing many to feel as if they will be never be approved until after their deaths.


Black lung is a disease that could be prevented following that regulations and proper safety matters would be followed. Yet this is almost never a guarantee to occur in any mine that you step foot in. Most industries tend to fudge their processes as to keep the sites from being shut down, fined or other stipulations to be applied to them.


This disease usually ends up causing many breathing problems for each miner, and effecting other aspects of their health. One large aspect that can be seen is that these individuals can no longer complete the tasks they use to because of lacking the energy or having to stop and catch their breath all the time. Also they tend to have issues walking longer distances as time passes.


Being a coal miner's daughter in a industry that had left my hometown and taking with it the main income source with it, I have seen my community, my family and my father struggle in many different aspects. Rather these aspects be income, health, or business related it has been a large hit to smaller communities throughout Kentucky that tend to lean on one another for support.


So when you think of a miner don’t just think about “Coal Keeps the Lights On,” but think about the people who run that mine and was behind the production of that coal. Think about how these people are doing and what actions can be taken to help these people continue on with their lives and to help improve their communities.