Recently my attention got caught to a knife series dedicated to coal miners. I’ve always have a spot in my heart for coal miners and was immediately attached to those knives. In no means I am fooled that these are made for coal miners. Sure they are not, even though … Continue reading →
Mine Safety – Why Hi Visibility Clothing and Safety boots Are a Must-have
Protection is a must for the people working in the mining industry. There are simply so many hazard under there, that the employees and the employers need to stick to the good safety practices. Following the safety protocols and having the right equipment. If an accident occurs, employees with the … Continue reading →
Coal’s Decline Is Choking Appalachia Towns
Towns are struggling to keep public services running as many mines close. The cutbacks are due to a steep decline in the coal production that is due to a number of factors, including alternative energy sources with lower prices and new regulations. Coal is becoming less and less competitive and … Continue reading →
Why the Coal Industry in Central Appalachia is Dying
This region of Appalachia has been the heart and soul of the coal industry for a long, long time. Longer than anyone could remember. However, a worrying trend is noticed in the recent years. West Virginia and Kentucky’s coal industries are declining fast. The coal communities are suffering by trends … Continue reading →
Recently my attention got caught to a knife series dedicated to coal miners. I’ve always have a spot in my heart for coal miners and was immediately attached to those knives. In no means I am fooled that these are made for coal miners. Sure they are not, even though they would serve well every coal miner. These knives were made to pay homage to the many men and women who dig coal in Appalachia or in other coal-related regions. They pay homage to the brave individuals who choose the risky profession, chose to accept all health related risks and life threatening conditions usually related to coal mining. It is homage to all those fine people who made our country great. The coal actually fuelled the industrial revolution and would be the main energy production method for years to come.
So, which is the coal miner series of knives?
The Work Knife
The Lock Back
The Utility knife w/ Wrench
Most of them have distinctive handle with pattern design you cannot miss. We believe (although there is no hard proof) that this series featured only the first four knives at first. The last three were added at a later stage. Also, the first release didn’t have the stamping “Coal Miner“ and the boxes featured a different design.
The material of the handle is also debatable. While some people claim that the smooth handles are actually made from buffalo horn, the manufacturer simply listed them as made of bonel. Also smooth handles are stamped with BE PREPARED reminder in silver coating.
Protection is a must for the people working in the mining industry. There are simply so many hazard under there, that the employees and the employers need to stick to the good safety practices. Following the safety protocols and having the right equipment.
If an accident occurs, employees with the right protection will face reduced risk of injuries suck as broken bones or toes, minor burns, bleeding cuts. Donning high-visibility clothing will increase their chances of being found in case of an accident.
US health and safety organization (OSHA) state that employers must provide personal protective equipment to their employees in certain cases. Follow this link to find out about your worker’s right and your employers responsibilities.
However, both parties must be familiar with the benefits of using the right protective equipment and using it correctly. Here is a short video covering the safety problems in mining industry.
The equipment serves several important purposes:
Skin protection. The correct equipment protects from cuts, grazes and rashes as well as from minor burns
Protection from the elements – some jobs require working even in the harshest conditions – from freezing cold to burning hot weather, workers are out there doing their job.
Protection from accidents. Let’s face it – accidents happen. Minimizing the risk of injuries is as important as taking protective measures to minimize the harm. Workers are required to use safety helmets, protective goggles or even face shields, quality steel-toe boots, long-sleeved shirts, long trousers, high visibility vests, ear plugs or ear protection.
The clothing and footwear must be purchased for each worker. Also – they must be the right fit. Too large or too small equipment means compromises with safety.
The equipment will serve you well only if maintained well. To serve its purpose, the equipment must be functioning well. Only proper and regular maintenance will ensure all the equipment is in good working order whenever needed.
The damaged equipment needs to be replaced or serviced immediately. Clothing and shoes must be cleaned after each use and stored according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Where to buy from?
In mining – industry where safety is extremely important, we advise you to always look for reliable suppliers and authorized dealers of the equipment. If you decide to purchase online, use suppliers that offer exchange in case the equipment don’t fit as supposed. For example Amazon offers quality safety toed boots with free shipping and on top of that offers hassle free returns. A number of other online stores offer similar options as well. Just make sure to check about that before you decide to purchase.
Sure enough even the highest quality equipment won’t stop the incident from happening. However it would hugely reduce the risk and impact of consequent injuries.
Towns are struggling to keep public services running as many mines close. The cutbacks are due to a steep decline in the coal production that is due to a number of factors, including alternative energy sources with lower prices and new regulations. Coal is becoming less and less competitive and the result is sharp decrease in the counties budgets. According to the Appalacian regional commission, 93 out of 420 counties are severely affected.
The regions have been mined for more than two decades, resulting in the best and cheapest coal already excavated.
This region of Appalachia has been the heart and soul of the coal industry for a long, long time. Longer than anyone could remember. However, a worrying trend is noticed in the recent years. West Virginia and Kentucky’s coal industries are declining fast. The coal communities are suffering by trends that are going on for decades.
Apart from regulations, and coal mine retirements, there is another trend – the coal in Central Appalachian region is vanishing. Many of the easy to mine seams are running out of resources. The energy administration reports that its analysis show that the coal production in the regions is soon to be half of what it used to be. It has plunged from 234 million tons of coal in 2008 to 112 million tons in 2015.
Problems are many, and some of it originate from the fact that cheap natural gas is getting more and more popular.
Coal mining has been elbowed aside by the natural gas and the new EPA requirements for pollution. As a direct result from that many US plant owners plan to retire 8.5% of all coal-fired generators used in US.
Even though the coal industry has been able to manage to overcome that by exporting coal to Europe and Asia, this is due to stagnate in the recent years.
This all means that the US coal mining industry is facing too many challenges and pressures from all fronts. Both regulatory challenges and competition of cheaper sources.
The cost of the decline
It would be huge. Both to coal-reliant communities in Appalachia region and for the whole Virginia’s budget. The coal industry represents 15% of the entire states budget. Sure thing, it won’t just vanish, but is slowly but surely slipping away. That means nothing good for the residents as the deficit in the budget needs to be compensated by another sources. This would translate to sharp decrease in the tax revenue for Kentucky and West Virginia.
What can be done?
Simply said, these states need to transition to cleaner sources of energy. They could even thrive by the shift. It would be far from easy (remember Detroit struggles with reliance solely to auto industry for years?). West Virginia could explore other options such as getting into shale-gas drilling. Or switch to other clean energy resources such as solar or wind-powered plants or switch to sustainable biomass energy.
There are a lot of decisions to be taken and a lot of hard time ahead. However, Central Appalachia should definitely shift away from its focus solely on coal.